Festival and concert goers looking to get last minute tickets to this summer’s top events are urged to be on their guard against fraudulent sellers, as new data reveals £6.7 million was lost to ticket fraud last year.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service, has launched a ticket fraud awareness campaign, warning people to be alert to fraudsters trying to catch out people planning for popular and sold -out events.

Last year more than 8,700 people reported they had been a victim ticket fraud, with a total of £6.7 million lost.

The warning comes ahead of the Glastonbury Festival ticket resales and before top summer events, such as Taylor Swift’s sell out Eras tour. Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “We all want to enjoy ticketed events this summer, but that doesn’t stop fraudsters from taking the fun out of things we look forward to doing. Too many people are losing out to fraudulent activity or genuinelooking phishing messages.”

How to protect yourself from ticket fraud
- Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
- Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering the money if you become a victim of fraud.
- Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets.
- Is the vendor a member of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)?

If they are, the company has signed up to strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints.

For more information visit star.org.uk/buy_safe.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Steve's Nature Diary

As I write this article, the weather seems to be improving and a walk after work was warm and sunny and we saw our first swifts of the year which is always a landmark! Have you spotted some beautiful silhouettes darting and diving in the summer sky yet? We have four species that people often get confused with. They are swifts, swallows, house martins and sand martins and are all summer visitors to the UK.

The latest to arrive home is the swift - it is dark brown all over, often appearing black against the sky, with a small, pale patch on its throat. They're larger than swallows and martins, with long curving wings that make them look a bit like a boomerang when in the air. Swifts are very sociable and can often be spotted in groups wheeling over roofs and calling to each other with high-pitched screams. Unlike swallows and martins, swifts are almost never seen perching. They spend most of their lives flying – even sleeping, eating and drinking on the wing – only ever landing to nest.

The swallow is glossy, dark blue-black above and creamy-white below, with a dark red forehead and throat, bordered by a blue-black band across the top of the breast. The red can be difficult to make out from a distance so the whole head may just appear dark. It has a very long, deeply forked tail. The house martin is glossy black above, completely white below, and has a white rump and a short, forked tail.

As its name suggests, the house martin can be spotted around our towns and villages, where they build mud cup nests beneath the eaves of houses. They can often be seen visiting puddles to collect the mud they use to build their impressive nests. June is the time when The Wildlife Trusts have their big annual engagement campaign - 30 Days Wild - the UK’s month-long nature challenge! They ask the public to do one “wild” thing a day throughout the whole month.

30 Days Wild provides people with a perfect starting point in their journey to loving nature. It’s in its tenth-year - last year, over 124,000 people signed up and they are hoping to beat those numbers this year.

You can sign up as an individual, school, care home, or a business by visiting wildlifetrusts.org/30dayswild. People who do something ‘wild’ every day for a month change their attitude to nature and report improvements in their physical and mental wellbeing, which places nature connection at the heart of a happy and healthy life - according to research by the University of Derby. So why not sign up and go wild. Try spotting our four summer visitors where you live.

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association
Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

There will be a full write-up about the Mediaeval Fayre in next month’s article, but SCA would like to take this opportunity to thank very sincerely the fantastic local shops, companies and businesses who have very generously sponsored the many attractions and donated tombola prizes for this year’s event. Their support is important and much appreciated. Thank you also to the organisations, groups and residents who volunteered their time to help throughout the day, from set up, to take down. The Fayre most definitely brings folk together!

Dates for your Diary!
SCA AGM - Come along and get involved with Sedgefield Community Association. The organisation is at the heart of community life here in Sedgefield and being involved as a volunteer can be very beneficial in so many ways, with proven health benefits by keeping active and engaged – it can be great fun and very interesting.

The SCA Annual AGM will be held at Ceddesfeld Hall on Thursday 20 June at 8pm – SCA members and non-members are most welcome.

Ceddesfeld Beer Festival – Friday 12 and Saturday 13 July.
Look out for information nearer the time, on the website, social media, and posters around town. Any willing volunteers to set up, take down, serve, collect glasses etc., please contact Tony via email: info@sedgefieldsca.org.uk.

For more information on Ceddesfeld Hall events, regular activities, room hire and bar opening times, contact Wendy on 01740 620206, Pat on 01740 620607, John on 01740 620042, Sarah on 01740 622185. Visit us on Facebook or see the SCA website, www.sedgefieldsca.org.uk

Mayor's Corner

On 13 May, I relinquish the chain of office as your Mayor and First Citizen, after two of the busiest years of my life. Before that, on 7 May, I will be delighted to distribute a bundle of cheques to headline charity The Red Sky Foundation and a significant number of local community groups, in response to the many letters requesting financial help with their ongoing projects.

None of this would be possible without the great generosity of Sedgefield people attending my many fundraising events, dropping cash in my renowned collecting bucket, baking for my coffee mornings or donating prizes, bottles and toys for my raffles, tombolas and toy stalls.

I would like to place on record my grateful thanks to all who have supported me: to Annette Lawson for being my indefatigable and proactive Consort, to Paul Howell MP for being a great ally and to my close family, who have had to put up with my lengthy absences from home on around 165 occasions.

I have met and got to know many lovely people in the village during this second year, which has been an absolute delight for me.

Finally, I would like to wish my successor as your Mayor all the very best for his/her year in office. What an incredible journey the new Mayor will face!
David Jasper

Your Letters

The Hub

I am a member of many community groups that use the facilities at Sedgefield “Community” College. They have recently communicated that there is a new booking system to be used to hire facilities. Prices remain pretty similar in the most part but the cost for adult football has risen from £450 a year to approximately £600-£700.

Pitches can no longer be booked for a season, they are now per game. The main issue with this new booking system is that all groups have to pay a month in advance for their regular bookings.

For some larger organisations, this won’t be a problem. However, in order to book your regular slot, you have to pay now for bookings months away. This is something that smaller organisations won’t have budgeted for. They have basically just been told, out of the blue, you need to pay up within the next few weeks or your slot will be given to someone else.

There are also many organisations, who ‘pay as you play’ but have a regular booking. i.e. a pitch is booked every week, everyone brings £3-4 and this is used to pay for the hire. Not everyone is available every week so it can be different people each week. These types of bookings can now no longer happen. Where will they get the £100+ they are being asked for now to secure a booking for October?

These types of bookings are vital for many in the community. A chance, once a week, to get out and play sport. They are vital for both physical and mental health.

This is yet again an example of the college becoming ever less about the ‘community’ it serves and should maybe rethink the name.

Sedgefield News

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