LONDON, U.K.—In what may be another sign of England's newfound concern over the alleged proliferation of "violent porn" and its attempts to block online access to the material, inspectors from the Westminster Council, which has oversight over most of central London, yesterday raided storage units (known as "lock-ups" in the U.K.) and garages in the towns of Merton and Wandsworth and seized 100,000 hardcore DVDs.
The DVDs, with an estimated value of £1,000,000 (US$1,559,000), were due to be supplied to sex shops in the Soho and West End districts, and to newsstand vendors operating in South London, particularly the High Street area. In fact, it was as a result of raids on 80 of the "newsagents" that the locations of the caches of DVDs were discovered.
Judging by the photo (left) supplied by the Westminster Council, it appears that the seized DVDs were not pirated copies, but rather unboxed disks from legitimate producers which were smuggled into the country from Europe and the United States and sold from behind the counters of the newsstands and sex shops, since selling movies which have not been classified by the British Board of Film Classification is illegal.
"We believe we have uncovered a major wholesale supply ring distributing unclassified material to shops in Westminster," said Nickie Aiken of the Westminster City Council. "The operation illustrates the scale of the illegal sex industry in London. My fear is that corner shops in Westminster and elsewhere in the capital are now the new frontier for the illegal porn industry in London."
"The disturbing issue is that a child going into a newsagents for a comic or some sweets could now come across some very unpleasant hard core material," she added.
Aiken did not elaborate on how children would see the material, since it was held behind the sales counters and not being displayed on store monitors.