Man jailed after illegal software found

A SUFFOLK man was today sentenced to four month in jail, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £2000 in costs, after pleading guilty to 12 charges of selling illegally copied Microsoft computer software.

A SUFFOLK man has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay £2000 in costs, after pleading guilty to 12 charges of selling illegally copied Microsoft computer software.

Freddie Ferguson of Ipswich Street, Stowmarket appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' court following an eight month investigation by Suffolk County Council trading standards department.

Trading as Kings Electronics, Stowmarket, Ferguson sold computers loaded with illegally copied Microsoft computer software.

The computers were sold at reduced prices, undercutting legitimate traders in the town.

Officers from trading standards raided Ferguson's shop in August 2006 following a tip off.

A number of computer bases, discs and documents were seized during the raid. The computers were forensically tested and the documents scrutinised to determine the extent of Ferguson's operation.

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An enforcement officer from Microsoft was on hand to help uncover the unlicensed software.

Reg Ruffles, assistant county trading standards officer said: “Ferguson's operation was a blatant attempt to make money by breaking the law.

“By selling his illegal products at low prices he was taking customers away from legitimate businesses in the town. Ultimately, if this illegal trade had been allowed to continue law abiding shopkeepers may have been put out of business.”

Anyone who is concerned about a computer or computer software they have bought should speak with Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 for advice.

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