It’s not a happy new year for one UK resident who was busted for piracy.

The unnamed Staffordshire man, in his thirties, was apprehended after a joint raid by Trading Standards and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA).

Prior to the official raid, investigators set up a sting operation where they visited him to have their Xbox chipped and purchase pirated games. The console and games were then forensically examined to provide the evidence needed to obtain a search warrant.

Four computers with burners and more than 1,000 illegally copied games were seized in the raid – including 700 Xbox 360 games, 300 Wii titles and 100 PlayStation 2 games. Three Xbox 360 and two Nintendo Wii consoles were also seized. The man admitted to running an illegal chipping operation via his site for nearly two years.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA, has said “Our team in the Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU) will step up its fight against counterfeiters and illegal chipping services in 2009. Such illegal activity can pose real health dangers for the public and certainly deprives gamers of any proper quality control. Furthermore, it can cause the industry to lose vital income and with it jobs across the UK. “

A POCA (Proceeds Of Crime Act) investigation has already begun to estimate the criminal gain from the offender’s illegal activities. The crime itself carries up to ten year’s imprisonment, and an unlimited fine.

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