Two ticket touts who fraudulently resold event and concert tickets have been ordered to pay back £6.1million or face jail.
Peter Hunter and David Thomas Smith were previously prosecuted and jailed in February 2020 following an investigation by the National Trading Standards.
The pair traded under the company name BZZ Limited, which they used to purchase and resell hundreds of tickets at inflated prices for events and concerts, including Ed Sheeran, Adele, Madness and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Today’s (December 14) ruling saw the pair being given three months to pay back £6,167,522.02 or face an additional eight years’ imprisonment.
Ruth Andrews, Regional Investigations and eCrime Manager for the National Trading Standards, said: “Today’s result concludes a landmark case that demonstrates once and for all that dishonestly buying large quantities of tickets and reselling them at inflated prices is an unacceptable, illegal and fraudulent practice.
“All too often, fans looking to buy tickets to sport events, music concerts and other high-profile events find that official tickets sell out in minutes before reappearing on secondary ticketing sites at vastly inflated prices. This can have a significant financial impact on consumers and I hope this ground-breaking case helps drive long-term changes in the secondary ticketing market.
“The defendants have learnt again today that crime does not pay and their futures have been irrevocably damaged by their criminal behaviour as a result. We hope this sends a message to all those who chose to engage in fraud that there are severe consequences.”
The investigation into them began after Sheeran hit back at touts ripping off fans which led to many being unable to attend his concerts. His manager Stuart Camp told Leeds Crown Court at the time that he had spotted £75 seats for a charity gig on sale for £7,000.
However, Hunter and Smith argued that it was not a criminal offence and insisted they were running a legitimate business. But the court heard the pair were “dishonest fraudsters motivated by greed” and were jailed at the time.