Battle with Illegal DVD sellers
by Will Davies Chinese gangs selling illegal DVDs are flooding a busy part of the High Road – hitting traders profits and draining police resources. Immigrants, who pay organised criminals huge sums of money to be smuggled into the UK, a
by Will Davies
Chinese gangs selling illegal DVDs are flooding a busy part of the High Road - hitting traders' profits and draining police resources.
Immigrants, who pay organised criminals huge sums of money to be smuggled into the UK, are a regular feature in Kilburn High Road, where they lay out their counterfeit films on the pavement.
Police say it is extremely difficult to get rid of them.
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Sgt Eddie Odita, who heads up Camden Police's Safer Neighbourhoods team for Kilburn, said: "There are so many of them. As soon as we ASBO them another group moves in.
"We believe they are part of organised crimial gangs. My concern is because of the number of staff we have, if we arrest one group, as soon as we go off they will flood the place with another team.
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"They were using one group as a bait. As soon as you arrest that one group you are tied down with your staff. Then the others come along and have a field day.
"Now we try and seize whatever they have on them and move them on. That way we can remain visibly present on the high road."
Police are still tracking down the source of the DVDs but it is proving a slow process.
Interrogation is futile as most sellers don't speak English and to call in an interpreter is expensive.
Cllr Anthony Dunn, Kilburn ward for Brent Council, said: "They will continue to owe money to the gangs that got them out of China so the intimidation is palpable. It can be very difficult getting information from them."
He said the immigrants destroy their passports so the Chinese government refuses to take them back.
He said: "These people are in limbo - they have almost chosen to become state-less.
"DVDs are the most visual thing but it's everything that goes on behind it - the people trafficking, drug dealing and prostitution.
"Everybody who thinks they are getting a bargain, they are actually funding organised crime.
"Local traders are having their revenue done away with. It is also lowering the tone of Kilburn High Road and making it dowdy - like a bad place to shop."
In April police Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Kilburn will launch a poster campaign, warning people against buying counterfeit DVDs.