Police taskforce tackle Olympic ticket touts
7 July 2012
TICKET touts have been targeted by West Midlands Police as the force gears up for policing Olympic football matches at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena this summer.
The last in a series of operations was conducted on Wednesday (4 july) at the Edgbaston Cricket ground for the England v Australia Natwest series match.
Specialist anti-fraud officers from the force’s Economic Crime Team mingled with fans before the match started, on the look-out for dodgy vendors.
The operation was the last to fine tune West Midlands Police’s ticket tout taskforce and disrupt and gather intelligence on touting gangs in preparation for the Olympics.
Since the operation began officers have visited venues across the West Midlands including football matches at Villa Park and the Molineux. Concerts at Coventry’s Ricoh arena have also been visited by under cover officers.
Throughout the operations officers have taken details from over 70 ticket touts.
Two people were arrested at football matches who were later issued with a formal written warning. Cash and a number of tickets were alos seized throughout the operations and were returned to football clubs.
Acting Detective Sergeant Mark Calvert, from the Economic Crime Team, said: “ We have been visiting venues throughout the West Midlands to raise awareness to the ticket touters and members of the public.
“It has been good to see that during the operations no counterfeit tickets have been bought by members of the public.
“Ticket touting isn’t just about financial gain…it can result in tickets getting into the hands of people banned from sporting events or rival fans getting into the same sections.
“Touting takes away the controlled element from ticket distribution, is strongly linked with football violence and increases the chance of disorder inside stadiums.
“Ticketing issues are a potential risk for the Olympic Games; it’s important we send out a strong message that touting and ticketing fraud will not be tolerated and that offenders can expect to be punished.
“We have also been working closely with trading standards at concerts and a number of counterfeit goods were seized at a JLS concert.
“The other important aspect of the operation was to educate the tickets touts we engaged with that legislation has been brought in whereby it is a criminal offence to sell tickets for the 2012 London Olympics, which includes the football matches at the City of Coventry Stadium.
“Ultimately we want to ensure the Olympic football programme in Coventry passes off peacefully and that all spectators witness a safe, enjoyable match-day experience – and combating ticket touting is central to achieving that aim.”