Earlier this year, police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft announced that four individuals connected to movie piracy had been arrested following raids in central England. Little was said about the men but TorrentFreak can now reveal that they included members of two release groups and a former admin of UnleashTheNet, the torrent site run by the busted release group IMAGiNE.
On February 1 2013, the Federation Against Copyright Theft announced that they had joined police officers from the Economic Crime Unit to carry out raids in the UK.
FACT said they had targeted four addresses in the West Midlands following an investigation into the “sourcing and supply” of pirated films on the Internet
Although it was revealed that four men, aged 20, 22, 23 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of offences committed under the Copyright Act, exactly who they were and what they did was never made public.
However, TorrentFreak has now learned that those arrested were from two P2P release groups called 26K and RemixHD, a former admin of UnleashTheNet (the site run by busted release group IMAGiNE) and an individual from torrent site The Resistance. One of those arrested (we’ll call him ‘John’) agreed to tell TorrentFreak what happened.
“We were rudely awakened on that Friday morning just before 7am by CID, FACT and police officers. I opened the door and they issued me with a search warrant and placed me under arrest. My partner and my kids were also present and my kids were especially petrified,” John explained.
Pictures from one of the raids
“As it was early in the morning and I was under arrest I was not even allowed to make a coffee, but I was allowed outside for a smoke and not placed in handcuffs.”
At around 8am John was taken to the police station, checked in and placed in a cell for several hours. Meanwhile a total of 16 police and FACT investigators were searching through John’s home, eventually seizing 15 bags of property.
In the early afternoon, around 2pm, John was interviewed by a detective with two FACT officers present.
“FACT did not ask any questions but had given a typed sheet with questions for the detectives to ask on their behalf,” John says.
Eventually John was given bail and told to report back three months later, but a few weeks before that date he was informed that the police needed more time and a two month extension was issued.
Earlier this month John was again interviewed by police with FACT investigators present. After two hours John learned that there would be no charges and he was released a free man.
However, that might not be the end of the road. Even though the police aren’t pressing charges, FACT have taken possession of all the equipment seized during the raid on John’s home which means that in theory they could carry out a private prosecution.
Nevertheless, what we’re seeing here again are raids being carried out in the UK at FACT’s behest, but with the police losing interest at the eleventh hour. Last month it was revealed that police had finally lost interest in Feeling, a former admin at the now-defunct SceneTorrents.