Scottish police have shut down its first three "Torrent" websites hosting pirated movies, games, ebooks and music.

Authorities said the targeted services were "major" but were closed after being discovered in Edinburgh, Kilmarnock and Falkirk since the beginning of this year.

Police Scotland, backed by the Federation against Copyright Theft, has warned that industrial-scale pirating through peer-to-peer sharing was a growing problem in Scotland.

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However, most consumers stealing through the sites are still thought to be doing so using internet services based in Sweden or another overseas jurisdiction.

Police Constable Andy Law, who headed up the recent operations, said: “We’ve been successful in removing these sites and work is ongoing to remove several more that we have identified, in what is undoubtedly a growing problem.

"Hosts often believe they leave no footprint, but in reality we can trace sites back to an address and from there it leaves little scope for the culprit to hide their actions."

Mr Law was speaking ahead of a major conference on illicit goods, called the “Real McCoy” and hosted by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, a partnership between law enforcement and business to reduce the threat of crime to commerce.

Mr Law added: “The issue is deep rooted. If we can begin to shift public attitudes, by highlighting that this is an illegal industry with real victims, and not just a nuisance to big businesses, then we take away the financial incentive to set up these sites."

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The conference, on Friday in Glasgow City Chambers, is not just about online theft. It will also address the full spectrum of anti-illicit trade – focusing not only on consumer goods such as fashion wear and accessories but also dangerous food produce, medical products and technology.

There will also be a fully interactive live ‘street market’ stocked with fake produce on nearby George Square and intended to highlight the often hidden dangers of fake goods to the wider public.

Kieron Sharp, Director General of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said “People may think that online piracy is a victimless crime but in fact this could not be any further from the truth.

"Websites offering illegal access to films, music, games and books are threatening our creative industries and the 1.8 million people in the UK working in them.

"From animation artists, costume designers, set carpenters and sound engineers, hundreds of thousands of peoples jobs are directly affected each time a film or TV show is pirated.

"FACT is committed to tackling online piracy and together with our partners at the police and within industry, we will continue the fight to clampdown on anyone operating these sites within our own territories.”

Chief Inspector Ronald Megaughin, Deputy Director of SBRC, said: “It is incredibly alarming that Scottish individuals will look to profit from hosting these torrent sites by charging users to download content – knowing that the content creators will not see any return.

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"Illicit trade and counterfeit goods spans almost every industry and has negative implications economically, socially and often even to health and wellbeing.

"Hopefully this event paired with the street market will help shift public attitudes against all types of counterfeit goods, highlight its many victims and raise awareness of the trade’s often surprising and common threats.”

The conference will also look at the growing concern about fake medicines.