The London 2012 Olympics sales website crashed offline last night, after people rushed to buy tickets during the final hours before the deadline.

The site, run by Ticketmaster, was offline from approximately 10.30 to 10.50. Users also experienced lengthy delays as they attempted to complete transactions.

A message on the website read: “We are experiencing high demand. You will be automatically directed to the page requested as soon as it becomes available. Thank you for your patience.”

Following the problems, London 2012 extended the ticket deadline by an hour to 1am today.

“Some people experienced temporary delay in accessing the Olympic ticketing site following a surge of applications around 10.30pm,” said a spokesperson. After the surge “evened out”, the system began to work “normally”.

IT vendors were less forgiving of the problems, saying organisers should have anticipated the demand. Andreas Edler, managing director at Hostway, said: “Irrespective of the sudden late surge of demand, you would expect ticketing websites in this day and age to build in adequate capacity and utilise better traffic management practices to cope with the excess of visitors."

In other Olympic ticketing news, in February Logoc, organiser of London 2012, announced the launch of a website to allow people to check the legitimacy of ticket sites. Ticket buyers could check a website by simply pasting the URL of a site into a box, and if the site is bogus, they will be redirected to an authorised ticket seller for their country.

Two weeks ago, Atos Origin opened the testing and deployment centre for IT at London 2012. Thousands of PCs, servers and network devices will be configured at the venue before being distributed to more than 90 Olympic venues.