Ahead of tickets for the London Olympics going on sale next week, Theresa May has said that touts will face heavy penalties.
Selling tickets for the London 2012 Games without permission was made a criminal offence in 2006 with fines of up to £5,000, but yesterday’s announcement sees that amount increase to £20,000.
The Home Secretary said: ‘The 2012 Games will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Games on home soil. By increasing the fines for touting we are sending a clear message to criminals and prospective criminals that it is not worth their while and they are not welcome. The focus of the government and everyone involved is to deliver a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy. It will not be spoiled by ticket touts.’
The Metropolitan Police Service has a dedicated unit – Operation Podium – to deal with touts and Olympic-related fraud. They have made 49 arrests, including for fraud offences, in the past six months alone.
Tickets for the games go on sale on Tuesday 15 March on the London 2012 website. Those who wish legitimately to sell unwanted tickets can use an official exchange system.