Touts who made millions from re-selling gig tickets jailed

24 February 2020, 18:17

The pair sold tickets for high-profile events such as Ed Sheeran
The pair sold tickets for high-profile events such as Ed Sheeran. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

A pair of touts who made millions re-selling event tickets have been jailed after a landmark trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Internet touts Peter Hunter and David Smith re-sold tickets worth millions of pounds to high-profile events such as Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Adele concerts.

The pair traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ and were found guilty of fraudulent trading following a landmark trial which ended earlier this month.

Hunter was jailed for four years and his husband, Smith, was jailed for 30 months on Monday.

Prosecutors told the court that Hunter and Smith's businesses bought tickets to high-profile events at a total face value of £17 million, between 2010 and 2017, and sold them for £26.3 million - a net gain of £9.3 million.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "This was a case of sustained dishonesty for a number of years."

Little Mix concerts were targeted by the touts
Little Mix concerts were targeted by the touts. Picture: Getty

He told Hunter: "It's clear you were well aware that this was a fraudulent enterprise you were perpetrating, and perpetrating in a very effective way.

"You are not somebody who deliberately went out of their way rip off the consumer.

"But I'm afraid this is a serious matter. A lot of people in this case paid a lot more than they could have paid."

Judge Khokhar added: "It gives me no pleasure to impose the sentences I'm about to impose but I have to consider my public duty."

The judge also praised Smith, who is a former news editor of Gay Times, for his work for LGBT rights, saying he should be "justifiably proud".

Adam Webb, campaign manager at FanFair Alliance, said: "Today's sentences represent a major blow to online ticket touts who break the law and rip off the public.

"It's a fantastic result for National Trading Standards and for music lovers across the UK, and should also send shockwaves through the likes of Viagogo and StubHub whose businesses are dependent upon large-scale resellers.

"By facilitating the activities of online touts, there must be concerns that the platforms themselves are profiting from the sale of tickets unlawfully acquired by their biggest suppliers.

"This should be investigated as a matter of urgency, and lead to action against those platforms if they have benefited from the proceeds of criminality."

FanFair Alliance is a campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting, supported by managers and teams for artists including Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix.

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