In the aftermath of fan anger that the only tickets available for his upcoming British tour are at absurdly inflated prices via second-hand sales websites, Ed Sheeran has called on his fans to snub greedy ticket touts who are flogging on tickets.

Many thousands were left disappointed when tickets for Sheeran’s first UK concerts in two years went on sale earlier this week, only to sell out in a matter of minutes. Just moments after that, the only possibility of catching the gigs was to pay up to £1,000 via second-hand sites, a massive hike from the face value of £77.

Ed SheeranThousands of Ed Sheeran fans were disappointed when tickets disappeared almost immediately

A representative for the 25 year old singer, whose new album Divide comes out on March 3rd, said Sheeran was “deeply concerned” about what was going on but urged fans not to pay the prices demanded by touts.

“We urged all fans not to engage with them. We are vehemently opposed to the unethical practices that occur in the secondary market,” the rep said. “We have written to each of our partners, be they promoters, venues or ticketing companies, detailing the way in which we expect tickets to be sold: direct to fans.”

More: Wembley gigs from Beyonce and Rihanna suffer from ticket touting, as hundreds of seats left empty

After priority pre-sale tickets went up for sale on Tuesday (January 31st) and disappeared within moments – with many complaining the website had crashed with tickets already in their baskets – unlucky fans took to social media to vent their anger.

Second-hand sites are still a problem in the UK, with the practice being estimated to be a £1 billion industry despite the government debating the strengthening of the law against touting late last year.

However, touts may be becoming a victim of their own success. In the summer of 2016, a number of gigs from massive superstars such as Beyonce and Rihanna in London were nominally ‘sold out’ but the events themselves had large and noticeable numbers of empty seats, because people were not buying tickets at the outrageous prices demanded.

More: Ed Sheeran explores the glory of youth in ‘Castle On the Hill’ video