Police have raided a number of coves, dens, and websites in pursuit of a gang who have been distributing pirate pornography. They have seized a large number of DVDs and web pages manufactured by the gang, who are estimated to have made millions of pounds in the last few years from selling them.
Spokesman for Cornwall police Arya Lisnen explained that many mainstream pornography manufacturers had lost a lot of money because of competition from pirates, which undermined the whole industry. "When pirate films first came along in the late 90s, people thought it was a bit of a joke," said Lisnen. However, she explained, now they make up the biggest single genre of pornographic film in the UK.
Walk into any adult video shop and you will see dozens of pirate films. They are easily recognisable by their covers, with half-naked eye-patch-clad models wielding wooden legs, and pirate-themed titles such as "Plundered Booty" or "Hard Astern". They thrive on using bad innuendo and cheap costumes to titillate viewers.
Pirate films are to modern adult entertainment what Robin Askwith films were to 1970s adult cinema: a British cottage industry with limited appeal internationally but plenty of hardcore fans in the UK. Many pirate actors used to be mainstream stars, but have moved over to the industry due to desperation, bad luck or the promise of buried treasure.
The industry covers all tastes - recent film releases have had such diverse titles as "Landlubbers in Rubber", "Bountiful Chests", "Keelhauled Shemales", "Galleons of Seamen", or the gay masterpiece "Cross Bones".
Technically it is illegal to produce pirate porn in the UK, but producers get around this by hiring actors and costumes on the mainland, then sailing into international waters to do the actual filming. Some famous names from the industry you may have heard of include Captain Hooker, One-Eyed Sally and Shiva M'Timbas. All three were among the list of suspects arrested today, while they were returning to port from filming their new venture, "Inside Blackbeard's Cave 7".
It is thought that all three will escape jail sentences, but will instead be asked to "walk the plank" of the pirate porn industry, by being barred from making any further films in the UK. They may however be able to find future employment working for a more professional non-pirate adult film company abroad, by allowing themselves to be hired as privateers.