20/06/2012

Police Crackdown On Black Market Olympic Tickets

Police are investigating 30 international websites and 970 individuals, many linked to serious organised crime, over the multimillion-pound black market in sports tickets in the runup to the Olympics.

One man is being hunted in Belgium for attempting to sell large quantities of Olympic tickets, and the Metropolitan police are liaising with the US national Olympic committee over several unauthorised sites attempting to sell seats illegally.

In the UK, known touts have tried to breach the official website selling Olympic tickets.

It is understood around 100 known touts attempted to buy seats in order to sell them on illegally, however these were identified and failed to do so.

In a separate case, an international ticketing company has been summonsed to appear before magistrates next month charged with the illegal sale of Olympic tickets.

With 38 days to go until the Games opening ceremony, the scale of the challenge facing the police charged with deterring, intercepting and bringing to justice criminals who make millions out of illegal ticket sales is huge and stretches across international boundaries.

DS Nick Downing, who is leading the British police's fight against organised crime exploiting the Games, said the Met's operation, known as Podium, was robust and innovative but would not be able to stop every ticketing scam.

"The Metropolitan police here are trying to police the world and it's a massive police and intelligence challenge," Downing said.

"We are doing everything we can to raise public awareness and to deter criminals from getting involved in this. The national Olympic committees and foreign law enforcement agencies have to detain people and disrupt activities also."

(H)


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