With 38 days to go until the final torch is lit, the scale of the challenge facing the police charged with bringing to justice criminals who make millions out of illegal ticket sales stretches across international boundaries.
The Metropolitan police are working with the US nation Olympic committee over several unauthorised sites attempting to sell seats illegally. One man is being hunted in Belgium for attempting to sell large quantities of Olympic tickets.
The head of the police investigation against organized crime exploiting the Games, DS Nick Downing said the Met’s operation, known as Podium, is innovative but would not be able to stop every ticket scam.
Downing is examining information from a Sunday Times investigation that alleged 27 agents representing 54 countries, more than a quarter of the nations attending the Games, were attempting to sell the tickets illegally.
Under the 2006 Olympic Act selling tickets in the UK or abroad without authorisation from the London organising committee is a criminal offense liable to a £20,000 fine.
The act was put into place leading up to the Beijing Olympics, where more than 10,000 people, including the parents of the British Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, fell victim to a £5m Internet ticketing scam run by British criminals.
Police are appealing for members of the public who purchased Olympic tickets through two websites – www.2012-londonsummergames.org and www.2012-londonsummergames.com – to come forward amid fears they may have been defrauded. The sites have been disabled but detectives, who have been working with the Portuguese authorities, fear they may already have lured many victims into purchasing non-existent tickets.
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