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The Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit has taken out about 100 websites which claimed to be selling tickets for Premier League football matches.

In fact, fans got either fake tickets or nothing at all. Operation Phyllite was the result of co-operation between the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), the Premier League, FIFA and various internet service providers.

Officers spent time trawling for tickets but also responded to complaints from ripped off fans.

As a result, the Met has removed 60 sites completely, forced another 25 to remove offending material and is "tackling another 24 today".

There have been no arrests as a result of the operation. A spokesman for the Met explained that the sites were mostly run from outside the UK. He said the Met was working with other law enforcement agencies, but where the police were unable to prosecute they tried to disrupt the criminal activity and give the public enough information to avoid becoming victims of the fraudsters.

Kevin Plumb, the Premier League's Commercial Solicitor, said the scams were getting ever more elaborate and hard for punters to spot. Plumb advised footy fans to go direct to the venue's website to find out who has the right to sell tickets.

Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie from the PCeU said fans' desire to attend matches could override their better judgement - she said: "If it looks too good to be true it probably is".

If you are fooled by such a site you should report it to www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

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