ILLEGAL DVD vendors have returned to Leyton Mills one week after police raided the shopping centre, making seven arrests.

The Leyton Safer Neighbourhoods team worked with Waltham Forest Council Trading Standards, Immigration officers and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to oust illegal touts from the retail park.

Five men and two women, all Chinese nationals, were prosecuted under the Theft Act and the Trademark Act and fined at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court.

All were served injunctions by the council banning them from entering the Leyton Mills shopping centre.

However less than a week later, they returned to flog cinema titles including Pirates of the Caribbean II and Superman Returns and were spotted by Guardian photographer David Edwards.

Sgt Jonathan Clack from the Leyton Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: "We do the operations, arrest and charge them to bring them before the court and then it is down to the court to decide to deport or fine them. We would like to see more severe punishments or fines to deter people from selling DVDs.

"We are increasing our patrols down there but we cannot be there 24 hours a day, so there needs to be something in place to make sure they do not come back when we are gone.

"We are working with the shops and agents responsible for the land to increase security, improve the lighting and CCTV system, and put up posters about illegal DVD sellers.

"If anyone has any information about people selling DVDs illegally, please get in touch with us on 8721 2874."

Eddy Leviton, head of communications at FACT, said: "Until there is stronger sentencing and there is the realisation that this crime affects a lot of people and is a public nuisance, they are going to come back.

"It is a problem across the country."

Leyton Cllr Miranda Grell said: "The police have done a fantastic job but people have to stop buying DVDs from these people.

"They may look harmless but they are linked to organised crime run by gang lords, people trafficking and all kinds of illegal activities.

"I am going to speak to my colleagues in the council about meeting with the Home Office to get it to be taken more seriously."

l If you spot illegal DVD sellers anywhere in the borough, call our newsdesk on 8498 3437.