Criminal gangs are targeting the Open at Royal Birkdale with ticketing scams, the R&A has warned.
The last two Opens have suffered with ticketing issues, but golf’s organising body has warned it may be on an unprecedented scale in Southport, Liverpool, because of an increase in “print at home” tickets.
Security experts say there are three main approaches used by the gangs; re-selling tickets at inflated prices, selling fake tickets, and selling tickets that have been used.
Sefton Council has issued a banning order on anyone approaching strangers with the hope of buying or selling tickets. Those offending will be ejected, and/or fined £100.
The executive director for championships said: “My security consultants advise me that at the last two Championships organised gangs of 30+ have targeted The Open.
“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.”