London's Metropolitan police said they had arrested 16 people since Friday for illegal reselling of Olympics tickets, as Games organisers said they were investigating why scores of seats were empty at some events yesterday..
The arrests were made on Friday and Saturday in the Stratford area near the Olympic Park in east London, and in Wimbledon, in the south of the capital, where the tennis contests are taking place.
"Ticket touting is illegal and is a clear exploitation of those who genuinely wish to experience the Games first-hand," said the officer in charge of a crackdown on illegal ticket resellers, known in Britain as touts and in the United States as scalpers.
"We have been, and will continue to seek out and take robust action against anybody who tries to cash in on the 2012 Games in this way," said Detective Superintendent Nick Downing.
Many Britons have been frustrated by their inability to buy tickets for the games, and some expressed their exasperation at seeing images of rows of empty seats at some venues on Saturday, but police warned against approaching touts.
"I would also urge people to think twice about purchasing tickets from these criminals: if you do, you are likely to find yourself paying over the odds for them, while at the same time fuelling criminality," Downing said.
Olympic organiser LOCOG said it believed the empty seats yesterday were those assigned to sponsors and was investigating why they had not been used.
Police said they had charged two of those arrested with ticket touting, a 57-year-old German man, Wolfgang Menzel, and Maria Bukranova, a 30-year old Slovakian.