Ticket ‘touts ordered 1,000 Ed Sheeran tickets to sell for 300 percent profit’

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Two internet ‘touts’ bought more than 1,000 tickets to Ed Sheeran concerts and tried to sell them for almost four times their face value, a court heard yesterday.

Peter Hunter, 51, and David Smith, 56, are accused of ‘milking’ music fans for millions by using multiple fake names and addresses to bulk-buy tickets for concerts and events – before reselling them online almost immediately.

The couple – partners ‘both personal and in business’ – traded under the company names Ticket Wiz and BZZ to ‘harvest’ tickets ‘en masse’ from primary sales sites such as Ticketmaster, it is alleged.

They are said to have resold them at ‘hefty’ profits on secondary ticketing sites Viagogo, Stub Hub, Get Me In and Seatwave. At times BZZ was buying around 1,000 tickets every three days from primary sales sites, it was said.

David Smith

David Smith

Peter Hunter

Peter Hunter

Two internet ‘touts’ bought more than 1,000 tickets to Ed Sheeran concerts and tried to sell them for almost four times their face value, a court heard yesterday. Peter Hunter (right), 51, and David Smith (left), 56, are accused of ‘milking’ music fans for millions by using multiple fake names and addresses to bulk-buy tickets for concerts and events – before reselling them online almost immediately

Artists and events targeted included Gary Barlow, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, and the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing tours.

Leeds Crown Court heard that when Ed Sheeran announced his 2018 stadium tour his promoter attempted to stop the resale of tickets on secondary sites by writing to ‘the big four’. 

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said: ‘Seatwave, Get Me In and Stub Hub agreed not to list Ed Sheeran tickets for resale, but Viagogo chose to do so.’

When Sheeran tickets went on sale at 10am on July 8, 2017, Hunter, Smith and BZZ staff, using fake identities, bought 1,061 tickets, it was said.

The most expensive tickets for Sheeran’s Etihad Stadium gig in Manchester were priced at £75, however the defendants were accused of offering them for sale on Viagogo for £280 each. 

‘A hefty mark-up,’ Mr Sandiford told the jury. ‘And they were getting a mark-up of an average of £100 ticket.’

Leeds Crown Court heard that when Ed Sheeran announced his 2018 stadium tour his promoter attempted to stop the resale of tickets on secondary sites by writing to ‘the big four’. Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said: ‘Seatwave, Get Me In and Stub Hub agreed not to list Ed Sheeran tickets for resale, but Viagogo chose to do so.’ (File image)

Leeds Crown Court heard that when Ed Sheeran announced his 2018 stadium tour his promoter attempted to stop the resale of tickets on secondary sites by writing to ‘the big four’. Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said: ‘Seatwave, Get Me In and Stub Hub agreed not to list Ed Sheeran tickets for resale, but Viagogo chose to do so.’ (File image)

Leeds Crown Court heard that when Ed Sheeran announced his 2018 stadium tour his promoter attempted to stop the resale of tickets on secondary sites by writing to ‘the big four’. Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said: ‘Seatwave, Get Me In and Stub Hub agreed not to list Ed Sheeran tickets for resale, but Viagogo chose to do so.’ (File image)

BZZ bought the Ed Sheeran tickets for £79,000 and resold them for £222,000, it was alleged. Sheeran’s manager and promoter are due to give evidence later in the trial.

The court heard that because of Sheeran’s active stance in avoiding ticket resales, promoters were cancelling tickets purchased by Hunter and other commercial ticket touts by tracing their IP addresses. But Hunter is said to have created new fake addresses and continued to buy.

Mr Sandiford said that between June 2015 and December 2017, Hunter and Smith spent more than £4million on tickets from primary ticket sites and sold £10.8million on secondary sites.

Hunter and Smith, of north London, deny fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud. The trial continues.