A legendary Kettering theme park has had to introduce a new permanent ticketing structure to stop people selling fraudulent ride tickets on eBay.
For several years, people visiting Wicksteed Park - where the modern day playground was invented - have been able to buy either wristbands for the day or sheets of ride tickets that last the full season so they can be used for multiple visits.
But as the park got into full swing for the 2019 season during half-term this week, many visitors were unhappy to see that ride tickets were now only valid for one week.
Now, Wicksteed Park have stepped in to answer social media speculation that the change in price was purely a money-making exercise. For the past few years, scammers had been laser printing sheets of tickets and selling them on eBay. This new system should help eradicate that.
A spokesman said: “The vast majority of people who visit Wicksteed Park buy our daily ride wristbands, which we believe are exceptional value and which are also subject to regular promotions and discounts, such as over the current half-term holiday.”
Visitors also have the option to buy ride tickets, which can be used for individual rides and which have previously been valid for the calendar year of purchase (eg 2018).
“Due to increasing problems around the production of fraudulent tickets we have taken the decision to change the redemption period for ride tickets to seven days.
“Visitors who do not wish to buy wristbands can still buy the appropriate number of ride tickets each time they visit the park and our new ticket office operation means this should be a quick and easy process.
“The calendar year system for ride ticket redemptions means that tickets bought in 2018 would no longer be valid, even under the old system.”
Prices for this half term are £10 for a day wristband or £8.50 online. Individual tickets are £1.25, or £37 for 40.
Wicksteed Park was started by Charles Wicksteed in 1921, making it the oldest theme park on UK mainland.
As an inventor and engineer Charles designed and built play equipment, often using bits and pieces from his engineering business, and creating swings and slides to thrill young and old alike. This business grew, eventually exporting play equipment to over 80 countries around the world.
The huge playground at the front of the park is free to get into but a charge is made for the fairground rides.