Porn DVD Businessmen Jailed

Lorry-loads of material removed from Shepherd's Bush premises

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Two men who ran a porn DVD business in Shepherd's Bush have been jailed.

49-year-old Tehsin Panju of South Norwood and 47-year-old Hitendra Patel of Harrow sold pornographic material by mail order from their Direct Media company, which they set up in 2002.

During a raid on the business in July last year, officers discovered "hundreds of thousands" of videos, customer catalogues, a client database containing “thousands” of names and an array of copying equipment, the court heard.

Southwark Crown Court heard there was so much material that police needed five lorries to remove it all from the company's Shepherd's Bush headquarters.

"This is to date the largest seizure of pornographic material the Met's Obscene Publications Squad has ever dealt with," prosecutor Natasha Tahta said.

Officers also found £26,380 at the Shepherd's Bush businesses, as well as a safe deposit box containing £41,000 cash and a storage unit with nearly £6,500 in it.

Both men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to publish obscene articles and Panju also admitted three counts of money laundering. They were sentenced to 15 months each.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Fingret said: "This, on any view, was a very large scale operation over several years. Whilst it is apparent that many thousands of DVDs were in the process of circulation and dispatch, I accept not all of them came within the Obscene Publications Act.

"However, the scale of the operation, even on the basis of a small percentage, would necessarily involve a large number of obscene DVDs. I do not accept that the principal objective was to provide for the needs of your customers. The primary objective was clearly to make money from what was, on any view, a lucrative and seedy business," he added.

7 September 2009