Olympic touts and fraudsters may face Asbo hurdle

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Asbos will be among the battery of legal weapons to hit ticket touts and fraudsters targeting the London 2012 Games, Scotland Yard said yesterday.

They are likely to face tight bail conditions, possibly including a ban from the Olympic venues, and assets will be seized.

There were no guarantees that London 2012 will be a tout-free zone but "we will put the fear on them using every possible legislation that we can", vowed Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the National Olympic Security Co-ordinator.

With 6.6 million Olympic tickets due to go on sale on March 15, touting is currently the top priority for Operation Podium, the police team set up to deal with serious and organised criminal networks looking to exploit the Olympics.

There have been 10 operations and 37 arrests, including for fraud offences, in the past six months.

The unit is currently running 16 operations aimed at frustrating criminals so much in the run-up to 2012, by preventing and disrupting their deeds that they do not bother to target the Games.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing of the Specialist Crime Directorate said: "I cannot say that we are going to stop touting throughout the UK but I am certainly going to make sure that it is a hostile environment in 2012.

"We will look to disrupt them by whatever means necessary and if that is by seizing their assets – I think that is a good way forward, or by slapping an Asbo on them.