Trial hears scalpers mocked customers who bought Harry Potter tickets in multi-million pound scheme

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Staff at touting firm TQ Tickets Ltd mocked customers they took advantage of by selling tickets to sold out events at inflated prices, a court has heard.

The Norfolk-based firm used multiple identities to buy tickets for shows, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before selling them on secondary sales sites.

Mark Woods and Lynda Chenery have both denied three counts of fraudulent trading, while the pair’s spouses admitted the offences.

During the trial at Leeds Crown Court, jurors were shown messages between Paul Douglas, who confessed to fraudulent trading, and his wife Chenery.

He described one customer who bought two tickets to the Harry Potter West End show for £535 ($680/€620) each as “another idiot”. The face value of the tickets was around £130.
Chenery replied to the Skype message saying, “plenty of them it seems”.

Prosecutors said that “greed and dishonesty” motivated the firm that “exploited” fans out of more than £6.5m.

It is alleged that the group also used multiple identities to buy tickets for artists such as Ed Sheeran and Little Mix before selling them on.

“This was all about milking customers for profit – ripping them off, in effect,” said prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford, as reported by the BBC and PA Media.

In other messages, Douglas told Chenery that he had sold two tickets to Last Night of The Proms at the Albert Hall in September 2016 for £462 when they were “47 quid tickets”.

Sandiford said the firm also engaged in “speculative listing” on secondary platforms where tickets were sold before they had even been sourced, including Ed Sheeran tickets in 2017.

Sheeran’s promoter Stuart Galbraith is due to give a statement to the jury about how he had a strict policy on the tour to limit ticket prices to between £50 and £80.