Bargain hunters were left furious after a promotion for 12p Thorpe Park tickets started earlier than advertised, meaning those who tried at the planned time missed out.

The theme park has apologised, citing "technical difficulties" for starting "a few minutes early". As numbers were extremely limited they were always likely to be snapped up in minutes, therefore those who tried on time – at 10am today – had no chance.

The much-hyped deal, 1,871 sets of 12p tickets to celebrate the opening of the new Derren Brown ghost train, had been featured widely in the national media and we included it in our weekly email.

Thrill-seekers began tweeting at 9.57am to celebrate bagging discounted tickets:

But the early start left others angry with the theme park:

What did Thorpe Park say?

Thorpe Park has apologised individually on Twitter to those who complained.

A spokesman adds: "The 12p ticket sales page was set to go live for 10am. A tech fault meant it went live a few minutes earlier. Tickets sold out.

"The promotion was conducted on a first come first served basis. There are no further tickets available at 12p. They are now sold out as there was limited availability.

"Demand was anticipated to be high for this offer; we expected tickets would sell out fast. We were aware that there was always going to be disappointment as it was a limited offer.

"But despite this we want to be able to offer our guests exclusive deals such as the 12p ticket and worked hard to get the website ready to deal with demand and increased the bandwidth of the website to avoid any crashing. In setting the new page live which was loaded for 10am, it went live slightly earlier.

"There are other deals available on our website, that run throughout the year. Apologies to anyone who did not secure a 12p ticket."

On its Twitter page it has also warned of a spoof Twitter account that tricked users into thinking there would be another batch of tickets released.

Anger after Thorpe Park 12p ticket gaffe
Anger after Thorpe Park 12p ticket gaffe

What can I do if I missed out?

Thorpe Park has said there are no further 12p tickets available and has so far not offered to run a similar offer to appease angry customers. Update Tuesday 29 March: When we contacted Thorpe Park again to see what it's planning to do, it told us only that it's handling the matter "internally" and will "update guests accordingly". founder Martin Lewis says: "Okay, Thorpe Park messed up its timing. Everybody understands that sometimes these things happen. Yet the real problem here is, after acknowledging the problem, it hasn't done anything to remedy the situation.

"It could've made more tickets available, it could've offered an extra discount to those who tried and failed, but so far it has simply said 'oops, sorry'! That isn't good enough.

"I hope once the holiday weekend is over and the senior management see how they've cocked up, it'll change that. If not, then the only thing people annoyed by this can do is vote with their feet and not visit."

There are other Thorpe Park ticket offers available, though sadly none as cheap as 12p per ticket.

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