Published Friday, 21 January 2011
Tens of thousands of pounds were being generated on a monthly basis by the operation which was run from bases in Newtownards, Downpatrick and Belfast.
Stephen McCully, 33, of Bells Towers Belfast and James McComish, 42, of Lower Clay Road Downpatrick, were arrested in December 2009 following an intelligence led covert operation.
It is thought up to 500 fake DVDs a day were being produced by the criminal activities.
A factory in Downpatrick was located along with a 'hide' for counterfeit goods in Belfast in which master DVDs, multiple DVD burners, printers, a large quantity of fake DVDs and an order list were discovered.
Detective Chief Inspector Todd Clements, who specialises in anti-counterfeiting operations, said he was alarmed by the gang's determination to make profits through breaking the law.
"The two men who led this gang of counterfeiters went to great lengths to avoid surveillance and capture," he said.
The Organised Crime Branch's Gold Team was working in partnership with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to capture the counterfeit gang.
The specialist PSNI team were tipped off by uniformed PSNI officers, who were patrolling Nutts Corner market in Co Antrim.
A surveillance operation was then launched in an effort to discover how the extent of their operation and the various locations from which the men were operating.
Detective Chief Insp Clements said there was no doubt that a professional and determined organised crime gang had been dismantled.
"We welcome today's sentences. Both McCully and McComish have been thwarted in their efforts to continue to make huge sums of money by selling counterfeit goods," he said.
"We estimated that the gang was producing as many as 500 fake DVDs a day, resulting in a criminal profit of around £20,000 a month."
A Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) was secured by the PSNI which will ensure the men are not able to carry out the crime again in the region once they are released from prison.
The order can be reviewed every five years.