Dutch police arrest Euro 2000 touts

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The Independent Online

Six touts - three British and three Dutch - were arrested yesterday for trying to sell black market tickets for England's opening Euro 2000 game against Portugal last night.

Six touts - three British and three Dutch - were arrested yesterday for trying to sell black market tickets for England's opening Euro 2000 game against Portugal last night.

The six men were arrested in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, by police who said they would not tolerate the illegal sales. They said the men were asking as much as £200 for the tickets, which have face values ranging from £17 to £59.

Johann Beelen, the city's police spokesman, confirmed the arrests. He said the tickets had been confiscated and the touts would be released after paying a fine of 750 guilders (about £200) each.

Another Briton was arrested for touting in Amsterdam and the 125 tickets he was carrying were confiscated.

A 36-year-old man from Bloxwich, Walsall, was arrested in Eindhoven for an alleged assault. Police said a second man, who was not named, had been found with a pepper spray. Two other Britons were arrested in Eindhoven, one for drink driving, the other for damaging a vehicle. The arrests came as between 10,000 and 15,000 England fans poured into Eindhoven, of which 5,000 arrived ticketless for the match, the National Criminal Intelligence Service estimated.

Most fans said they had been approached by at least 10 touts offering tickets for up to £220. "Personally I think they are the scum of earth," said Wayne Felton, 35, a computer consultant from Birmingham. "Sadly, as long as there are people who are willing to pay lots of money for them, there will be touts.

By way of precaution, the names of buyers were printed on the tickets - allowing officials at the ground to match them with identity cards. But while officials are carrying out some checks, the police have admitted it is impossible to check the identity of every supporter.

Kevin Miles, a spokesman for the Football Supporters Association, said the tournament's organisers, Uefa, were partly to blame for the touts. "If you are going to have a system where the tickets are sold before the draw you are going to have people buying before they know who will be playing. In those circumstances, you are bound to get tickets being passed on and sold on.

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