Detectives target would-be ticket touts at Olympic football
20 July 2012
Detectives from the force’s specialist Economic Crime Unit suspect that unscrupulous touts are looking to cash-in on this once in a generation event. And officers are ready to use new laws with stiff penalties to tackle the issue.
While touting football tickets is covered by exiting laws, the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act (2006) imposes tougher penalties on those found guilty of advertising tickets for sale or attempting to sell them on.
Under the new legislation, offenders face a £20,000 fine and a lengthy spell in jail with cases fast-tracked through the courts under nationally agreed protocol.
For the past 12 months, detectives have been conducting undercover operations across the region and further afield, to gather intelligence on ticket touts operating at sporting fixtures, gigs and festivals.
The team of officers mingled with crowds at local football matches and concerts as well as events such the England v Australia series match at Edgbaston Cricket ground and Liverpool’s Grand National steeplechase.
As well as identifying those touting, officers worked with local police to make arrests and seize tickets and cash.
Detectives now plan to use this information during the Olympic period as they conduct plain clothed patrols around the City of Coventry stadium.
Detective Inspector Neil Postins is head of the specialist team who have been preparing for the Games for several years.
“An analysis of past offending suggests that touts do not specialise in music or sporting events but will often crossover into areas where they can make the most money.
“The region’s excellent transport connections also mean that touts can and will travel to the West Midlands from other parts of the country. Many of the touts we encounter also have connections to organised crime groups who are involved in very serious crimes which would shock law-abiding members of the public if they knew their hard earned money was funding these.
“With this in mind, we have been planning our response to the London 2012 Games for some time now. Our aim is to create a safe and secure Games which leave a positive lasting impression of Britain, our region and British policing.
“There are still plenty of tickets on sale for fixtures in Coventry and we want real sporting fans to be able to enjoy the matches in a safe and secure environment.
“Central to achieving this is ensuring football fans are not exploited by touts who may sell tickets at inflated prices or who are planning to sell forged tickets which will result in people being embarrassed and turned away at the gates.”
The team will be working alongside trading standards staff and cells at the stadium will house those caught touting on match days.
Det Insp Postins has this advice to protect sport fans, their personal details, families and friends from being exploited by criminals.
- The only secure way to buy a ticket is from the London 2012 ticketing website, or your country’s National Olympic Committee or National Paralympic Committee. These details can be found on the official London 2012 ticketing website.
- Don’t buy a ticket from an unauthorised website or tout. It may be a scam and you risk not getting the ticket you wanted and paid for. Your credit card details may also be stolen for use in other crimes.
- If you aren’t sure whether the site is authorised to sell you a ticket, use the London 2012 website checker.
- If you buy a ticket you can no longer use, you can check whether it can be resold through the authorised ticket reseller you originally purchased the tickets from or via London 2012.
There are three official providers for Games Breaks and Hospitality Packages:
Travel packages will also be available for residents outside the UK through National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees. Further details about official travel packages can be found on the London 2012 ticketing website. Always check the terms and conditions to see what you are being sold.
There is specific legislation relating to the sale of tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. If you find tickets for sale from any unauthorised source at anytime, don’t buy them. They are not genuine. Report it to London 2012 via firstname.lastname@example.org