The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off returned with its sixth season on 5 August BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

Ladbrokes has halted betting on hit BBC show the Great British Bake Off amid fears the winner's name may have been leaked.

The bookmaker said on 6 August that "a run of bets" was placed for one contestant, with many bets being placed at shops in the Ipswich area.

It is not known which baker sparked the betting frenzy, which saw their odds slashed from 12/1 to 6/1, 3/1 and then evens.

Ladbrokes said 90% of the bets were placed on one contestant, adding that despite the hitch, bets already placed would not be affected.

'Alarm bells ringing'

"We offered prices on Monday and, almost before the ink was dry, an unusual number of punters were in a rush to back only one contestant," David Williams of Ladbrokes said.

"On Tuesday and Wednesday it was more of the same one-way traffic. That was enough to set our alarm bells ringing and, as a precaution, we suspended our betting.

"Hopefully, we'll go back up with revised odds sooner rather than later, but we didn't want to get caught with our pants pulled down and a soggy bottom, so we've decided to take a breather until we are reassured that Bake Off hasn't gone off already.

"When you see a run of bets like this for one contestant at the expense of everyone else that can be a sign to suspend betting for a bit to assess the situation," he said.

Record-breaking premiere

The first episode of the baking competition's sixth series aired on BBC One on 5 August and drew a record 10 million viewers, making it the most watched premiere in series history.

The first contestant to be eliminated from the show was married father-of-two Stuart Henshall, whose beetroot Black Forest Gateaux left him red-faced after he failed to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

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