Pirate video swoop

TWO men are being questioned today, after thousands of pirate Lord of the Rings videos were discovered in a Suffolk raid.

By Tracey Sparling

By Tracey Sparling

Crime Reporter


TWO men are being questioned today, after thousands of pirate Lord of the Rings videos were discovered in a Suffolk raid.

The operation by Norfolk Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft discovered more than 200 video recorders and 'many thousands' of counterfeit Fellowship of the Ring tapes and artwork.

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The haul is believed to be the largest VHS piracy bust in the country by FACT, since February last year .

The factory, hidden in an industrial unit at Main Street, Stratford St Andrew near Saxmundham, was in full swing as the police swooped at 4.10pm yesterday .

Two men found on the premises, including a 56-year-old local man, were arrested.

They were taken to Thetford Police Station and held in custody overnight.

Property recovered from the scene of the arrests was being examined today.

A police forensic team was still working at the scene, and more arrests and searches of property are anticipated.

DI Paul Martin at Thetford said four police officers and a FACT representative arrived at the factory to find it in full operation.

He said: "It was an ongoing operation and we were not surprised to see the extent of it. It was what we had anticipated."

Director of operations at FACT, Spencer Mott said: "This is likely to be the largest VHS piracy bust by FACT since 1,200 video recorders and more than 70,000 tapes were seized in February 2001.

"That matter is due for trial at Norwich Crown Court on November 18."

That case was discovered in Besthorpe, near Attleborough in Norfolk and Det Insp Martin added it was not unusual to find pirate operations in small villages.

He said: "You might think it is surprising to find such operations in sleepy villages, but the reality is that it is not.

"These are just the kind of locations chosen, perhaps for their anonymity."




A trilogy of films has been made from the Lord of the Rings novel by JRR Tolkien.

The three films were filmed simultaneously. The back-to-back shoot lasted a record-equalling 274 days, in 16 months - exactly the same time as taken for the principal photography of Apocalypse Now in 1979.

The first, Fellowship of the Ring was released in cinemas across the UK earlier this year. The Tow Towers is due to be released on December 18, and Return of the Key is due out in 2003.

The plot for Fellowship of the Ring is set in a small village in the Shire, where a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient Ring. He embarks on an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it.

It was filmed in New Zealand, and directed by Peter Jackson.

New Zealand's army was cast as extras for large battle scenes, but was forced to back out due to having to serve as peacekeepers in East Timor.

When the trailer was released on the Internet on April 7, 2001, it was downloaded 1.6 million times in the first 24 hours.

Ian Holm who plays Bilbo Baggins was the voice of Frodo Baggins in a BBC radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings in the 1970s.

Daniel Day Lewis turned down the role of Aragorn, and David Bowie had been keen to play Elf Lord Elrond, but the part went to Hugo Weaving.

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