The UK Government has announced plans to prohibit touts from buying tickets en masse via bots to resell at a profit.

Through the addition to the Digital Economy Act, which became law in 2017, those that employ automated software to harvest tickets will face unlimited fines.

The action of buying tickets in bulk will be a new criminal offence and will bypass any limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers.

The legislation is moving closer to becoming law as the UK Government notified the European Commission of its plans to continue forward with the proposals.

Matt Hancock, Minister for the Creative Industries, said: “We’re determined to make sure 2018 is the year we help real fans get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price. We’ll be acting to stamp out the growing problem of touts misusing technology to scoop up vast numbers of tickets only to sell them on at rip-off prices.

“Our work, together with improvements by industry, will help make the market more transparent and mean a great year for Britain’s thriving live events scene.”

In November, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s competition regulator, said it is to take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law after the completion of an investigation into the sector.

The CMA said it gathered evidence, which it considers reveals breaches of the law, and identified “widespread concerns” about the information consumers are given.

Viagogo and StubHub had their offices raided, by the National Trading Standards, which has been working with the CMA, as part of the investigation.