Champions League ticket scam: two arrested in Islington
PUBLISHED: 16:44 24 November 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 24 November 2010
TWO people were arrested this morning by police investigating a bogus website and the linked sale of non-existent tickets to Champions League football matches.
A 41-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman were picked up by police at an address in Islington in connection with the scam, which saw unsuspecting victims duped into purchasing what they believed to be authentic tickets for football matches.
In one case a victim lost more than £4,000 when trying to purchase four tickets for a Champions League match. The tickets never materialised.
The arrests were made as part of Operation Podium, launched to investigate an organised criminal network who set up at least one fraudulent website in order to advertise the non-existent tickets.
The main offending website, www.georgehenryassociates.co.uk, has since been removed.
During the raid at a residential property in Islington this morning, officers recovered over 300 genuine tickets for sporting events and membership cards for premiership football matches. It is believed the tickets were purchased fraudulently and could amount to touting offences.
As part of their inquiries, officers have also visited a business premises in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, believed to be linked to the group. A search there is currently underway.
The suspects, arrested on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation, have been taken into custody at a north London police station where they remain whilst the investigation continues.
Acting Detective Inspector Claire Pluckrose, from Operation Podium, said: “This investigation is another example of our commitment to actively identity and disrupt those who operate scams whereby they purport to sell tickets for events they will never be able to provide tickets for.
“We will use the full range of legislation available to us to reduce the opportunity for criminals to benefit from large scale fraudulent ticket sales which fund their lavish lifestyles - and strip them of these assets.
“The only way for customers to guarantee they receive the tickets they have purchased is to visit official tour sites and agencies for a list of genuine sellers who have an agreement with promoters to sell legitimate tickets. Taking the time to make sure they are contacting the official agent will prevent fans from becoming victims of fraud.”
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