Two ticket touts, who were jailed for fraud having profited from re-selling a huge number of tickets, have been ordered to pay £6.2m in a confiscation order.
Peter Hunter, 53, and David Smith, 68, were sentenced to prison in February 2020 after a three-month trial that found them guilty of three counts of fraudulent trading and one of possessing articles for fraud.
The case was the first successful prosecution related to large-scale ticket fraud and was described as a “landmark” case by National Trading Standards, which carried out the investigation into the pair.
The married couple ran BZZ Limited, which they used to buy and resell tickets at inflated prices for concerts by artists including Ed Sheeran, Madness, and McBusted.
The pair benefited from their crimes by almost £9m. They have been given three months to repay £6.2m or face an additional eight years in prison.
Hunter was sentenced to four years in prison, while Smith was sentenced to 30 months. They were found to have used fraudulent tactics to purchase multiple tickets from primary ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster, Eventim and AXS.
The tactics included using other people’s names, addresses and emails to evade detection systems, and the use of automated bots. They were found to have engaged in speculative selling – listing tickets that they did not own for sale at inflated prices.
An appeal against the pair’s conviction was rejected by the Court of Appeal in November 2021.
Adam Webb, campaign manager at anti-ticket touting organisation FanFair Alliance said music fans should be delighted with the result of this landmark case: “The sums involved are staggering, and give an indication on the massive harm being inflicted on consumers.
“However, Hunter and Smith are only the tip of the iceberg. They are not outliers by any stretch of the imagination, and many others still operate outside of the law.
“Yesterday’s developments should be a trigger for wider investigations to tackle the excesses in this market – whether that’s the activities of touts, their methods of acquiring tickets in bulk from primary agents, or the secondary platforms they sell through.”
Access All Areas
We think you'll like these related articles.