In a landmark case in thefight against film piracy, a UK court has given a Cambridge-based DVD pirate,a three-year prison sentence.

Jayanti Amarishi Buhecha,who was estimated to make more than £25,000 per month from piracy, was found guilty of two offences under theTrade Marks Act 1994, at Harrow crown court, in north London, last month.

Buhecha was uncoveredin an operation co-ordinated by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) - whichlasted for two years.

Sentencing Judge Madgedescribed Buhecha as "one of the biggest Bollywood pirates in the UK"and said "a heavy penalty was called for because of the enormous damageBuhecha caused to legitimate business".

It is estimated that atleast four out of 10 Bollywood DVDs sold in the UK are counterfeit, well abovethe average for Hollywood movies. Others in the industry put the figure at morethan seven in 10.

The DVDs imported into theUK by Buhecha were manufactured in Pakistan and Malaysia and sold wholesale toshops in London and the Midlands.

Before turning to piracy,Buhecha was as a legitimate distributor arranging film screenings in Cambridgeand went on to become an authorised distributor for Yash Raj Films, an Asianfilm company.

Meanwhile, the UK'sFederation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is to forge closer relations with thepolice in a bid to raise awareness of the growing problem of piracy andcopyright theft.

FACT Director General,Raymond Leinster said that the studio-funded watchdog would attend theAssociation of Chief Police Officers Conference in Birmingham May 17-19, in anattempt to convey the range and complexity of the crime, which is attractinggreater numbers of organised gangs.