Xbox 360 consoles with mod chips were the targets of a new police raid in the UK today. According to a report from The Economist, an apartment in Birmingham was the center of "a joint operation by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and the UKIE (Association of UK Interactive Entertainment)." The result was that hundreds of mod-based Xbox 360 consoles were seized along other related items with a total value of over £500,000.
In addition to the 250 Xbox 360 consoles with mod chips installed, the raid also seized 450 units of unnamed pirated Xbox 360 games. The police also seized five PCs as well as other machines that were used to modify the Xbox 360 consoles. The raid started with a tip from an unnamed person that led police to a web site that offered modified consoles for sale. The report does not say if the individuals responsible for modifying the consoles and copying the Xbox 360 games were arrested.
It's clear that this kind of pirating operation is not taken lightly in Birmingham. The article quotes Neil Eustace, the chairman of the city's public protection committee, as saying, "While some may think 'chipping' or 'flashing' is a victimless crime, the truth is that such activity directly supports the black market in counterfeit games, which in turn endangers legitimate jobs and businesses in Birmingham." He added, "I hope this operation sends a clear message to those involved that we will not hesitate to take action against them in this city, and more generally that operating online does not provide counterfeiters with the safe haven from the authorities that some seem to think it might."