26 June 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Trio sentenced over piracy business

Three men have received suspended prison sentences for illegally distributing copyrighted content, costing more than £2.5 million.

Eric Brooks, Craig Lloyd (pictured left) and Mark Valentine (pictured right) were all sentenced at the Inner London Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud the entertainment industry following a four-year investigation from the City of London Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Brooks will serve 24 months in prison, suspended by 12 months, and was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service.

Valentine and Lloyd were given 18 months, suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work.

Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd hired a server in the Netherlands, which they operated for eight years and used to store more than £100,000 worth of stolen movies, music, games, software and e-books, and resold to users.

FACT found evidence of the criminal activity in 2011 and launched an investigation, which was later referred to the City of London Police.

Officers raided Brooks’s house in 2012 and discovered that he had earned £500,000 in profit from his criminal activities.

Valentine and Lloyd were also in possession of thousands of pounds worth of illicitly gained funds.

Detective constable Chris Glover, who led the investigation for the City of London Police, said: “The success of this investigation is a result of coordinated joint working between the City of London Police and FACT.”

“Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd all thought that they were operating under the radar and doing something which they thought was beyond the controls of law enforcement. However what today has shown is that activity of this kind is illegal and most definitely has its consequences.”

Kieron Sharp, chief executive of FACT, said: “Today’s sentencing should send a strong warning to anyone involved in piracy—this is a crime which is taken very seriously and the repercussions can be severe as these men now realise.”

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