Ex-students admit scam tickets site

Two former students have pleaded guilty to creating a scam website selling fake tickets for festivals around the country, trading standards said today.

Dale Frost and David Martins, both 21, are believed to have netted a total of £11,000 from the racket selling the non-existent tickets to popular music events including the Download, Isle of White and Reading festivals.

The pair created the website while in their first year of studying business studies and web design courses at Southampton Solent University in Hampshire.

The scam saw about 80 customers pay up to £250 each for the tickets which they believed would be genuine.

But buried in the terms and conditions was a brief mention that the tickets would not guarantee entry into the event.

And when the tickets arrived just a couple of days before the event, they were marked with the word "novelty".

A spokesman for Southampton City Council's trading standards team said the money had not been recovered from the pair but most of the victims were able to get their money back as they paid through secure methods including PayPal and Google Checkout.

Frost and Martins both pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006 at Southampton Magistrates' Court and the case was adjourned until next month for sentencing.

Councillor Matthew Dean, of Southampton City Council, said: "This was a particularly brazen scam but it is by no means unique.

"I would urge residents to be especially cautious when spending large sums of money online with vendors they've not dealt with previously."

Office of Fair Trading (OFT) research last year found one in 12 ticket buyers admitted to having been caught out by a scam ticket website.