Computer games industry watchdog Elspa (The European Leisure Software Publishers Association) is celebrating this week after a magistrate handed down a six-month custodial sentence on a single parent convicted of selling pirated computer games.

Londoner Abdulillah Barak, 62, was charged on 30 trademark offences and five video recording offences. He was convicted and sentenced to six months for each offence to run concurrently, the maximum penalty that can be handed down by a magistrate's court for trademark offences.

But Barak is to appeal against the sentencing on the grounds that he has had sole custody of his two children since his divorce.

"Barak's prison sentence is a sharp reminder to criminals that the law does take computer software piracy seriously," said Roger Bennett, director general of Elspa.

This year the Elspa crime unit has taken part in 473 raids, seizing 171,750 illegal CDs. The organisation estimates software piracy costs British business £3bn a year. It has recently joined forces with the whistleblowers outfit Crimestoppers to bring software counterfeiters to book.