In a landmark legal first, two UK ticket touts have been jailed after making millions selling on concert tickets for way above face value.
The two touts, Peter Hunter and David Smith, operated as Ticket Wiz and BZZ, and sold marked-up concert tickets for the performances of an array of artists, including Ed Sheeran and Adele.
Over the period in which they operated, Hunter and Smith sold tickets for £9.3 million more than they paid for them, Leeds Crown Court heard.
The pair were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court (Photo: Shutterstock)
Ed Sheeran's manager, Stuart Camp, gave evidence in court after seats for a charity gig were spotted online for £7,000. The same tickets were originally priced at £75.
Guilty of fraudulent trading
Hunter was sentenced to four years in prison and Smith for two and a half years. The jury found the pair guilty on three counts of fraudulent trading and one of possessing articles for fraud.
According to the National Trading Standards, the case was the "first successful prosecution against a company fraudulently reselling tickets on a large scale."
The touts also sold marked-up tickets for Adele concerts (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for September Management)
In just one year, Hunter and Smith bought over 750 tickets for Ed Sheeran gigs alone.
To get the tickets in bulk, they used computer robots and multiple identities to buy them. They then sold the tickets for marked-up prices on secondary ticket-buying websites like StubHub and Seatwave.
112 payment cards in 37 different names discovered
The court heard how Hunter started the business after a friend who didn't have a credit card asked him to buy Madonna tickets. He realised at this point he could re-sell extra purchases for a massive profit.
The pair used at least 88 postal addresses, 97 different names and over 290 email addresses to avoid platform restrictions.
When their home was raided by investigators, 112 payment cards in 37 different names were discovered.
Hunter, 51, and Smith, 66, of Crossfield Road, north London, said they were a reliable and trusted source for concert tickets.