Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ed Sheeran ticket touts jailed in 'landmark' Leeds case

Ed Sheeran Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The internet touts sold tickets to Ed Sheeran (pictured) gigs and other high profile events

Two internet ticket touts who re-sold tickets worth millions of pounds for events including Ed Sheeran and Adele concerts have been jailed.

Peter Hunter and David Smith traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ. Over five years BZZ sold tickets for £9.3m more than it paid for them, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp gave evidence after £75 seats for a charity gig were spotted on sale for £7,000.

Hunter was jailed for four years and Smith for two and a half years.

It was described by National Trading Standards as a "landmark case" which was "the first successful prosecution against a company fraudulently reselling tickets on a large scale".

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

"A lot of people in this case paid a lot more than they could have paid."

In one year, Peter Hunter and David Smith, who are married, bought more than 750 tickets for Sheeran events alone.

They used multiple identities and computer robots to buy tickets, selling them for inflated prices on secondary ticketing websites, including Viagogo, GetMein, StubHub and Seatwave.

Hunter told the jury how he started his business when a friend without a credit card asked him to buy tickets to see Madonna and he realised he could re-sell extra purchases at a huge profit.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The case has provoked calls for a wider criminal investigation of the secondary ticketing market

When their home was raided, investigators found 112 different payment cards in 37 names.

The couple used at least 97 different names, 88 postal addresses and more than 290 email addresses to evade platform restrictions.

Hunter, 51, and Smith, 66, of Crossfield Road, north London, claimed they were a trusted and reliable source of tickets.

The jury found them guilty of three counts of fraudulent trading and one of possessing articles for fraud.

Image copyright PA
Image caption FanFair Alliance, supported by managers of artists including Ed Sheeran, welcomed the result

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