You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Touts jailed for reselling Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift tickets in landmark court case

Yahoo! News UK 24/02/2020 Will Taylor
a man standing in front of a building: David Smith (L) and Peter Hunter (R) arrive at Leeds Crown Court. (Alex Cousins/SWNS) David Smith (L) and Peter Hunter (R) arrive at Leeds Crown Court. (Alex Cousins/SWNS)

Two touts who bought and resold tickets for Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift shows at inflated prices and made millions have been jailed after a landmark court case.

Peter Hunter, 51, and David Thomas Smith, 66, ran BZZ Limited through which they would buy and resell the tickets, contravening terms and conditions. They bought £4million worth of tickets over a four year period and made £10.8million selling them on.

Earlier this month, the pair were found guilty of three counts of fraudulent trading and possession or control of an article for use in fraud.

Hunter was jailed for four years while Smith was given 30 months on Monday.

a man standing on a stage: File photo dated 26/05/18 of Ed Sheeran who has said he will take a break from work and social media after being "non stop" for the past two years. © Provided by Yahoo! News UK File photo dated 26/05/18 of Ed Sheeran who has said he will take a break from work and social media after being "non stop" for the past two years.

It was the first successful prosecution of a company fraudulently selling tickets on a large scale.

Hunter and Smith would use a number of different people to buy tickets, used other people’s personal details to purchase tickets, deployed at least 97 different names, 88 addresses and more than 290 email addresses to evade selling restrictions.

They also concealed their IP addresses to disguise their bulk buying.

They would buy tickets to Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Madness, McBusted and other acts from primary sellers before selling them on at a higher mark up.

Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp told the jury during the trial that he and Sheeran wanted to take a stand against touts after seeing £75 tickets at a charity gig selling for £7,000.

a man standing in front of a building: Peter Hunter arrives for sentencing. (Alex Cousins/SWNS) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Peter Hunter arrives for sentencing. (Alex Cousins/SWNS)

The pair would also engage in “spec selling”, where they would list tickets they didn’t own on secondary ticketing websites, receive the inflated money and then try to source the tickets themselves.

Ben Douglas-Jones QC, for Hunter, said that his client was no more greedy than other businessman providing a service during the trial. Both men argued they had done nothing wrong.

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

They were caught following a National Trading Standards investigation and convicted at Leeds Crown Court.

a man looking at the camera: David Smith has been sentenced for his part in the tout. (Alex Cousins/SWNS) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK David Smith has been sentenced for his part in the tout. (Alex Cousins/SWNS)

Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said after their conviction: “Millions of people spend their hard-earned money on tickets such as music concerts and sporting events each year.

“Buying a ticket in good faith and then discovering it is part of a dishonest fraud can be deeply distressing and can have a considerable financial impact on consumers.

“This is a landmark case for National Trading Standards and should reassure consumers that the fraudulent practices of secondary ticket sellers will no longer be tolerated.

“I hope this prosecution leads to a step-change in the secondary ticketing market, making it easier and safer for consumers buying tickets in the future.”

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon