Guest Blog: By Alison Ashworth, paralegal at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors
The Olympics are on their way, and will bring with them a host of games specific crimes.
|Stay on the right side of the law during London 2012|
If you’re intending to attend any of the games, you had better make sure you bought your ticket from an authorised ticket reseller. Buying from a ticket tout could lead to paying twice the price, having your bank details stolen and could ultimately mean that you travel to the venue to be told that your tickets are fake.
If you have bought excess tickets, you should also beware of the law relating to ticket touting. If you are found selling, offering to sell, or even advertising Olympic tickets to make a profit you would face prosecution leading to a fine of up to £20,000.
Further fakery related to the games could also lead to prosecution. Many con artists have seized the Olympics as an opportunity to make a quick buck by selling apparently “authentic” Olympic merchandise. Buying knock off gear on the cheap could not only leave you with faulty and poor quality goods, it would also be rewarding organized crime and leaving legitimate traders out of pocket.
Those found to be peddling counterfeit Olympic merchandise will be potentially liable for a number of offences including infringement of the Trade Marks, Copyright,Design and Patents Acts. Harsh penalties of up to ten years imprisonment and potentially unlimited fines for the most serious trademark offences could be imposed.
Security will be extra tight on the streets of London during the games. Police will be cracking down on crimes like street trading, petty theft and street drinking. The increased police presence will equate to the highest concentration of firearms in this country ever. Police are on alert to be extra vigilant for all types of offences including driving offences such as drink driving.
Whilst you are unlikely to have a gun pointed at you for drink driving, you may be pointing a gun at your own head by getting behind the wheel of a car after one too many. The other serious consequence of being found drink driving is an automatic disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months.
Even if you are completely sensible and ensure that you are sober when behind the wheel you could still be stopped for being under suspicion of driving whilst under the influence. If for some reasons you cannot produce the breath sample the police request from you you could face an even harsher penalty for the alcohol related offence of failing to provide a specimen.
There are further driving related pit falls to be aware of during the Olympics- specific networks of roads interconnecting the Olympic and Paralympic sites are considered to be hotspots where drivers may be stopped. The networks will pass through Greater London, and spread through the south of England. To identify whether your street will be affected by the route, please use the following tool on the transport for London website
Some streets that are incorporated onto the Olympic route will be easy to identify by the existence of Games Lanes. These restricted access lanes will only be capable of being used by select groups of people. If you’re wondering whether or not you qualify to use the lane the answer is probably not! Use of the lane is restricted to the athletes themselves, games officials, members of the media, emergency services and games organisers. Being caught using a Games Lane when not entitled to do so could land you with a penalty charge notice (Parking ticket) and a £200 fine.
The Olympic/Paralympic networks will be subject to a number of other restrictions (such as no parking, turning or stopping) which may be less obvious to spot.
Drivers who are local to the affected routes may think they are already familiar with the roads but they must beware- subtle changes may catch you off guard! Less obvious changes may include changes in the timings of traffic signals and suspension of some parking bays.
If you are caught falling foul of these temporary measures you could face “civil penalties” such as a fine or could even have your vehicle towed on the spot. If you are unlucky enough to be caught out by a red light or other traffic sign you could be issued with penalty points. Tot up too many of these (12) and you could end up in court and face an automatic ban of 6 months.