Fraud probe into ‘phantom’ Meadowbank fitness event

Meadowbank Stadium. Picture: JANE BARLOW
Meadowbank Stadium. Picture: JANE BARLOW
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FITNESS fans have been targeted in a suspected scam selling tickets for a bogus event at Meadowbank, the Evening News can reveal.

A professional-looking website, Fitness Expo, is advertising bookings for a series of UK events including one at the London Road stadium next week.

But sports centre bosses have confirmed no such events are taking place and are advising any ticket buyers to contact fraud police.

“No such event has even been booked to take place at Meadowbank, or any other Edinburgh Leisure location,” said an Edinburgh Leisure spokeswoman.

“We have no plans to host this event, and have no affiliation with the event or event organisers.

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“Whilst Edinburgh Leisure has not been the victim of fraud, if you have purchased tickets, we suggest you contact the ticket seller or event organiser immediately.”

The Edinburgh event is listed on the Fitness Expo website at Meadowbank from next Friday to Sunday – with tickets priced £19.50 and £540 plus VAT for a stall.

Key event highlights online include Battle Of The Bars, Ultimate Ninja Warrior and the Naturally Fit Model Show.

The Evening News understands an initial booking enquiry was made last November and an event manager at Meadowbank met a William Anderson from Fitness Expo in January.

Several e-mails and calls followed and a deposit was requested by Meadowbank but when no payment materialised by May they pulled the plug.

Yet Meadowbank officials got wind that the Edinburgh Fitness Expo was still being advertised at an event in Leeds last week and contacted police.

Bosses at venues in Cardiff, London and Birmingham also confirmed no such events were taking place after Fitness Expo failed to pay deposits.

A William Anderson was involved in the controversial Belfast Titanic half marathon of July 2015.

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The race went ahead but drew complaints after runners alleged there was a lack of first aid cover, water stations and race marshals.

Tickets for the Edinburgh Fitness Expo were being sold through online events booking service Bookitbee.

Its chief executive, Kenton Ward, confirmed to the Evening News that tickets were on sale for two months but discontinued earlier this month.

“We weren’t satisfied with the information we got back from the event organisers and are very pleased the venues brought it to our attention when they did,” said Mr Ward.

The Evening News understands fewer than 100 tickets were sold for UK Expo Fitness events through Bookitbee and buyers are covered by the UK chargeback scheme.

A spokeswoman for Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, confirmed officers are investigating.

It also emerged that Fitness Expo could be in breach of 
copyright and trademark laws in using Edinburgh Leisure’s logo on their website.

Attempts by the Evening News to contact Fitness Expo by phone and email yesterday were unsuccessful.