Industry News

Police help Open organisers bar ticket touts from Birkdale

Organisers of The Open golf tournament in Southport, UK have enforced an order to ban touts from the competition.

Those in charge at the Royal Birkdale course said that security consultants have identified more than 30 touting gangs, mostly from Manchester and Liverpool, that previously targeted the championships.

Local police and councils have secured a special order and invoked temporary powers to counter the impact of large scale touting organisations.

The Manchester Evening News newspaper reports that Sefton Council has agreed to a Public Space Protection Order for the competition, which starts on Thursday.

A fine of £100 will be imposed upon any person caught selling tickets in the area affected by the order. In addition, touts will be ordered to leave the area for up to 24 hours.

The order comes after warnings from police and the tournament’s organisers, the R&A.

“There has been a growing trend for organised criminal gangs to target large-scale sporting and music events where they engage in three types of ticket touting activity,” said the R&A’s executive director for the championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, in a submission to Sefton Council.

“These are: the re-sale of tickets purchased legitimately online significantly above face value; the copying or counterfeiting of genuine tickets resold near the venue to unsuspecting members of the public amounting to fraud; and the re-sale of worthless tickets already used from members of the public who have left the venue for the day.”

The R&A added: “The individuals involved are usually from the Merseyside and Greater Manchester areas and allegedly have links to serious organised crime.

“Our consultants have information that many of these people have been found to have football banning orders in place for analogous offences and that dealing with their activities will impact adversely on the security resources around the venue if there are not effective measures in place to disrupt their activity.

“Not only are members of the public defrauded by the sale of used or copied tickets but police and security resources are diverted from their main task, that of public safety. This activity is likely to continue throughout the Championship and unsuspecting members of the public who purchased tickets from touts will not be admitted to The Open.”

In April, organisers of the Championship said the tournament was already one of its fastest selling and hoped to reach more than 200,000 ticket sales. According to GolfShake, the evening only tickets have sold-out with day tickets for all four days still available.

Some 173,134 tickets were sold last year as fans watched Henrik Stenson seal victory at Royal Troon in South Ayrshire.