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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Touts cashing in on Ashes bonanza
Long queues form for the cricket at Old Trafford
Long queues form for the cricket at Old Trafford
Tickets for the Ashes series are changing hands at up to six times their original value as touts cash in on the surge in popularity of cricket.

Tickets for the fifth Test at The Oval are fetching up to 450 a pair on internet auction sites thanks to a legal loophole that allows re-sale.

An ECB spokesman said: "This is the sort of situation we want to eradicate.

"We are asking the government for similar legislation to that which prevents sales of football tickets."

Tickets for every one of the Ashes Tests sold out in record time, including those for the fifth day.

More than 15,000 people were turned away from the gates of Old Trafford as tickets sold out for the fifth day of the third Test.

The ECB spokesman added: "Clearly, with the series being so exciting and so close, these tickets are getting a premium on internet auction sites.

"But at the moment, selling Ashes tickets is not illegal.

Crowds gather at Old Trafford
Tickets have sold out for every day left in the series

"We want to make sure that these tickets are available to the majority of cricket fans, not just the minority."

The current Test at Trent Bridge has attracted huge interest as England hunt their first Ashes series win since 1987.

Nottinghamshire CCC deputy chief executive Lisa Pursehouse said: "Unlike certain sports, like football and rugby, it is not illegal to sell cricket tickets.

"However, we do have strict terms and conditions which state that, if we become aware that anyone has sold on a ticket for more than face value, they will be blacklisted and unable to buy any tickets in the future."

Tickets for this summer's Ashes series were priced at an average of 40 per day.

But punters are selling on seats at a huge mark-up, with a set of four for the third day at The Oval currently on sale on one website at 1050, with higher bids coming in every hour.

Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon admitted that the threat of hugely inflated prices for tickets from touts and internet sales was a concern.

"Sadly there isn't enough we can do," he said. "They are going to be at a premium."

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