The UK's illegal trade in pirated DVDs is to be the subject of a police crackdown. Estimated to earn criminals £300m a year, the illegal trade in pirated DVDs is going strong, with hawkers of pirated DVDs a familiar site in the UK's pubs and markets. Advances in personal computing have made piracy a lot easier, and the legitimate film industry - which loses huge sums because of piracy - is backing a police crackdown.

It is a joint initiative between the Metropolitan police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact), which represents the film industry and broadcasters.

A Fact spokesman said some of the criminals involved in piracy were also in "other nasty business", and that the illegal market cost jobs in the film, broadcasting and retail sectors.

He said the pirates had links to wider organised crime and that the trade was associated with "benefit fraud, holding offensive weapons and the exploitation of children". Some raids on premises linked to film piracy have uncovered firearms.