Police in Scotland have seized more than £3m worth of Microsoft software and licences which they believe are counterfeit, in a series of raids in West Lothian.
The raids follow six months of investigation, and the haul represents the biggest ever seizure of alleged counterfeit software in Scotland.
More than 7000 licences and 1350 pieces of software were seized, including Windows 98 and Office 2000. The raids were carried out at offices and houses in Kinross, Blackburn, Livingston and Broxburn.
Julia Phillpot, anti-piracy manager at Microsoft UK, said: "Scotland is a notorious hotspot for counterfeit software and these raids may well be hailed as a milestone in our battle against software theft."
Tom Sangster, trading standards officer for West Lothian Council, which participated in the investigation and subsequent raids, said: "The quantity and value of goods seized reveals the sheer scale of this alleged counterfeit operation."
The investigation's findings will now be presented to Scottish legal officials who will decide how to drive the case forward through the criminal justice system, said Sangster.
This latest raid follows one last month by US police in which more than $22m (£14.5m) worth of counterfeit software and licences were seized in Philadelphia.
According to analyst IDC, there are some 840,000 websites selling illegal software and passing it off to consumers as genuine.
Anti-piracy organisation the Business Software Alliance says more than one in every three business software applications worldwide in 1999 was pirated - costing the industry more than $12bn in jobs, wages and revenues.
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