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2,500 PlayStation 2's smuggled into U.K.

A gray market maverick has sneaked Sony's game consoles into the United Kingdom from a "secret location" in Northern Europe, and supermarket chain Tesco is selling them.

    A gray market maverick has sneaked an extra 2,500 Sony PlayStation 2 game consoles into the United Kingdom from a "secret location" in Northern Europe.

    The Tesco supermarket chain will begin selling the consoles Wednesday for $442 (299.99 pounds) at five stores in Watford, Peterborough, Cardiff, Newcastle and Inverness. Tesco will be the only store in the United Kingdom with the consoles before Christmas.

    The supermarket chain managed to secure the consoles after a covert five-month operation. It will be the first shipment to arrive in Britain since the console's launch in November, when the British quota of 165,000 consoles were immediately snapped up by consumers who had preordered them.

    "We did put in a request for an official supply, but we were told that none would be available until the second quarter of next year," a spokesman at Tesco said.

    Tesco isn't alone in trying offbeat means of securing the consoles. Online auctions and Web sites have become the only way for some people to find them, though results have been mixed.

    Sony is refusing to make any comment on Tesco's efforts. "We're still trying to clarify the situation...We're looking into it," a Sony representative said.

    If the consoles have come from Northern Europe, there may be problems with power supply compatibility. However, Tesco asserts that the consoles meet European specifications. "They've been tested, and we're changing all of the plugs at the moment," the company spokesman said.