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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Blue Peter badge scheme suspended
Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker
Blue Peter hosts, including Matt Baker, become badge holders
BBC children's programme Blue Peter is to suspend free access for badge holders to its list of visitor attractions around the UK.

It follows the discovery of Blue Peter badges for sale on the internet auction site eBay.

Blue Peter editor Richard Marson said: "This is a sad but necessary short-term step to safeguard the future of the Blue Peter badge scheme."

More than 200 attractions in the UK grant badge holders free entry.

'Cynical trade'

Mr Marson said the temporary halt was essential to "protect children who have earned their badges and who are feeling very let down by this cynical trade".

Badges are handed out to notable guests and to children who have won competitions and contributed to the show.

The scheme will be on hold until the programme can put a secure system in place to stop people who bought badges gaining free entry to attractions such as museums and galleries.

"We have a responsibility, both to them and to the partners on our visitor list [but] we are doing our best to get the system back up and running as soon as possible," Mr Marson added.

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