Nine held on suspicion of online fraud that included tickets for Beyonce, Manchester United, Liverpool FC and Arctic Monkeys

St Helens Star: Raids: Officers swoop at a house on Merseyside this morning Raids: Officers swoop at a house on Merseyside this morning

SIX men and three women were arrested across the region by Merseyside Police today in connection with a high value online ticket fraud.

The arrests today relate to the sale of tickets that never existed or did not materialise for music concerts and events.

These included tickets for : Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Beyoncé and the Reading Music Festival. Also sporting events including; England rugby games and high profile Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC and Celtic FC matches.

The fraud value is estimated to be £116,000 and there could be as many as 850 victims.

At about 7am officers executed 12 warrants across Merseyside in Clubmoor, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Anfield, Wavertree, Kensington and Garston.

The force - working with The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) - executed the warrants today as part of a national focus week on ticket fraud, led by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Six men, aged 22, 24, 24, 27, 27 and 30, and three women, aged 23, 28 and 37, have been arrested on suspicion of offences including money laundering, fraud and possession of a controlled drug.

They have been taken to police stations across Merseyside for questioning.

Detective Superintendent Richard Carr, Matrix Serious and Organised Crime Interventions, said: "Today's operation sends out a powerful message to those intent on stealing from the public in this way that they cannot hide behind the anonymity of the internet and they will eventually be caught.

"However, today’s operation is just the start of our proactive work with our partners to target those individuals conning the ticket-buying public out of their money and we will continue to work with our partners to make life difficult for these fraudsters.

"Unfortunately we have seen a rise in reports of incidents of fraudulent concert or event tickets being sold on unregulated websites.

“In some cases the victim transferred the money online and then never heard from the seller again.

"To avoid being disappointed you should only buy from a venue’s box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange website.

“There are an increasing number of ticket scamming websites on the internet designed to part you from your money.

"So while you may be congratulating yourself on tracking down a really good deal, you could end up with no concert and no refund.

“Do not be talked into using payment methods that you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Do not pay by sending cash, money transfers or money orders. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

All nine remain in custody at this time and searches are ongoing at a number of properties.

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