Blackpool Lights Switch-On organisers to get tough on ticket 'touts'

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New measures have been pledged to stop people trying to profit from Blackpool’s famous Switch-On by selling free wristbands online.

Council chiefs said they were “disappointed” by the number of people trying to cash in following a record number of applications from people hoping to see Fylde favourite Alfie Boe flip the switch this year.

Posts advertising wristbands for as much as £30 each have appeared on sites like Facebook and eBay in recent days.

There were 130,000 applications for wristbands this year –and just 20,000 made available – meaning many people missed out.

Now, as organisers are warning those buying tickets online may be refused entry, plans have been revealed for ‘electronic’ ticketing to beat the ‘touts’.

Deputy leader of Blackpool Council Gillian Campbell said: “It’s disappointing to learn that people who have received free wristbands are now attempting to sell them.

“The team at VisitBlackpool monitor these sites on a regular basis and encourage the administrators to remove any such posts as well as reporting any sales on official sites.”

Coun Campbell said the Visit Blackpool team responds to any reports of online sales of Switch-On wristbands each year and where possible prevent the sales going through.

She added: “We are also looking at introducing new ticketing processes next year which will hopefully eradicate the selling of wristbands.

“This year, we have introduced a trial using the Golden Circle ticketing option in an electronic format.

“If this trial is successful, we will look to deliver all wristbands in an electronic format next year.”

The electronic tickets are being sold through Skiddle, a Preston-based online ticket outlet.

The tickets are sent via email and can only be accessed by the applicant making it harder for them to be sold on.

Buying and selling sites on Facebook have appeared to be the most common way for people to sell the tickets.

On one popular Blackpool market page, two Switch-On wristbands were listed at £20 each.

However some members of the group were not happy with the advert and one man said: “Selling them when you got them for free? Not really in the spirit of the event.”

Another member noted the more exclusive Golden Circle tickets could be purchased for half the cost.

Another post on the social media site advertised tickets at £30 each.

On eBay, three tickets are listed at £20 from a seller based in Wrexham, North Wales. The seller says they are unable to go to the event.

Love Blackpool was yesterday advising people on Facebook not to purchase wristbands off the social media site.

In response to a man trying to sell eight tickets on Facebook, the tourism promoter said: “Please don’t attempt to sell these; you cannot guarantee access to the arena with these as we ask our security team to cross-reference these against ID.”

Anyone who has tickets and is not going to the event can give their wristbands away for free via Facebook or gift them to someone else without repercussions , as long as money has not been received for them.

Love Blackpool also announced yesterday that all of the Golden Circle wristbands have been sold.

The Golden Circle section is a new introduction to this year’s event and 1,500 were made available to public at £10 each.

The council has said if the Golden Circle trial is successful it could be brought back for future events.

Stop the touts

The resale of tickets for profit has been a much talked about subject in the last few years.

Musicians such as Adele and Ed Sheeran have made concerted efforts to stop ‘ticket touts’ re-selling their concert tickets at inflated prices. Methods used have included requiring fans to show photo ID to gain entry to an event.

The organisers of Glastonbury have banned the resale of its tickets and anyone found to be doing so will have them cancelled.