Hounslow Trading Standards lead software swoop | FAST

Hounslow Trading Standards lead software swoop

Probe sparked by FAST whistleblower’s report

Hounslow Trading Standards officers assisted by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) executed a warrant at an address in West London today. This ‘feet on the streets action’ is part of an ongoing investigation into cybercrime by Hounslow Trading Standards, following a referral from the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) after concerns of the sale of pirated software.

A warrant, executed this morning, saw officers from Hounslow Trading Standards and PIPCU raid a premises in West London in search of evidence on the sale of pirated software. Officers found and seized a range of illicit material at the address, including computers.

FAST initially received a report from a whistleblower on the sale of illegal copies of popular Microsoft and Adobe business application software, the price of the genuine items running into several hundred pounds. Following a thorough investigation by the industry body on behalf of its members, FAST found the allegations to have substance and contacted Trading Standards.

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel of FAST, said: “This case goes to show that the actions of those who deal in illegal copies software do not go unnoticed, and action will be taken on the ground. It’s vital that consumers are protected and businesses can compete fairly on a level playing field without the market being distorted by the sale of contraband.” 

“These operations, often complex, depend upon the successful cooperation between industry bodies, such as FAST, the software vendor community to examine the evidence, and valued enforcement agents such as Trading Standards and PIPCU. We would like to applaud the work of all those involved in investigating IP and cyber crime which is corrosive on the digital economy,” he continued.

Detective Inspector, Rob Stirling, added: “PIPCU was launched in September 2013 to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. In its relatively short history, the Unit has been instrumental in the fight against software theft, working to take down offending sites dealing in counterfeit and illegal software, and successfully prosecuting those that would commit software theft.”