Olympic ticket warning

POLICE are issuing a tout warning just a week before the ticketing process for the Olympic Games opens.

Cleveland Police fear criminals will take advantage of the expected demand for internet ticket sales and accommodation packages for London 2012.

They believe unscrupulous crooks will jump at the chance to sell non-existent tickets and steal personal and credit card details.

Around eight million tickets will go on offer for the Games and another two million for the Paralympics after the application process begins on March 15 and runs until April 26.

PC Wayne Bailey, of Cleveland Police’s events planning team is urging sports fans to take some simple steps when buying a ticket to avoid becoming a victim.

He said: “The 2012 Games will be one of the biggest sporting events this country has ever hosted with nearly 11 million tickets available for events across the country.

“Criminals will be looking for ways to con and steal, either through selling fake tickets or setting up professional looking sites which may look genuine, but could leave you a victim and out of pocket.

“There is some easy-to-follow advice which will help keep you safe and ensure you can enjoy the 2012 Olympic Games.”

Advice includes:

l The ticket application process means tickets are not allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

l The only way to apply for a ticket in the UK is at www.tickets.london2012.com. You can also get a postal application from any Lloyds TSB branch or from any public library in Northern Ireland.

l If you get a ticket for an event you find you cannot attend, you can return your ticket for a refund through the London 2012 official ticket exchange and they will be officially re-sold.

l There are only three official providers for 2012 breaks and hospitality packages in the UK. They are: Thomas Cook (www.thomascooklondon2012.com), Prestige Travel (www.prestigeticketing.london2012.com) and Jet Set Travel (www.jetsetsports.com).

l Other websites or companies will not be authorised to sell tickets as part of a package in the UK.

l Outside the UK, London 2012 tickets are sold through the country’s National Olympic Committee, or an authorised retailer.

l If you find tickets for sale before March 15 or available from any unauthorised source at any time, do not buy them. They will not be genuine.

Report any suspicious ticket sales to Cleveland Police on (01642) 326326 or to London 2012 via email at: brandprotection@london2012.com.