Wearside MP calls for crackdown on big event ticket touts
WearsideMP Sharon Hodgson is leading renewed calls for action to prevent sports fans and concert-goers being ripped off by ticket touts.
At a recent match at Wembley, around 50 touts - including known criminals - were openly operating outside the stadium without any attempt by the authorities to intervene.
Labour MP Ms Hodgson, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on ticket abuse, said the scale of the abuse they had uncovered underlined the need for the Government to intervene.
During a fact-finding visit to the Liverpool v Barcelona International Championship match earlier this month, MPs had witnessed touts operating all along Wembley Way, with around 30 clustered around Wembley Park Underground station alone.
They included a number of "prominent" individuals with past convictions including for fraud, theft, drugs and firearms offences.
"There is not another national stadium within Europe where you see this taking place, which in turn damages UK plc," she said.
Among the incidents seen by the MPs was a teenage Barcelona fan being charged £170 for a ticket he was told had a face value of £100 - when in fact in was just £26.
Ms Hodgson, the MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said they had also heard reports of a Spanish family who bought tickets outside the stadium being turned away at the gate because they were invalid.
It follows a disclosure that dozens of people had been turned away from Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at London's Palace Theatre after buying tickets from unauthorised sellers.
Ms Hodgson has now written to Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, urging her to implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review into the secondary ticketing market, published earlier this year.
They include a call for national trading standards officers, supported by police, to ensure legitimate ticketing websites took action to prevent large numbers of tickets being bought up by touts as soon as they went on sale.
Ms Hodgson said: "Following our fact-finding mission to Wembley, we uncovered the scope and scale of ticket touts operating on the ground and fleecing fans desperate to get tickets to a hotly anticipated football match at our national stadium.
"The fact-finding clearly reaffirmed the need for action to be taken by the Government."