A BBC 5 live investigation has discovered that laws banning the touting of football tickets are being flouted, leaving supporters vulnerable to dubious online brokers. In a bid to clamp down on illegal trading, Manchester United have seized more than 1,700 tickets during the last two seasons. There are also concerns that some websites allowing fans to legitimately resell tickets for other types of show may be in breach of consumer protection legislation introduced last year. The Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers warns the online trade allows unscrupulous firms to "dupe unsuspecting ticket buyers" on an "industrial scale". The society is developing an industry code of practice for legitimate ticket resellers.
Terence Butts (63) has been convicted of frauduent trading and converting or transferring criminal property at Soutwark Crown Court and sentened to 6 years in prison. Butts, 63, and accountant Nimal Fonseka (78), were alleged to have sold £2m worth of non existant tickets to potential customers for occasions including the V Festival and the 2008 Beijing Olympics . But they only provided £280,000 worth of tickets - just 14% of what they had sold - claiming that their key supplier 'Peter's Tickets' had let them down. Butts sold 15,000 through his company Durban Vienna Ltd and his websites included summerfestivals.com and tickets4venues.com. Butts would tell cusomers that he could not suply tickets, telling them to reclaim the funds paid from their credit card provider. It was estimated B+S Card Services lost £1.2 million. Foneska was found not guilty on the same two charges. Security expert Reg Walker from iridium Consultancy told Live UK that Butts was 'top of the ticket fraud tree' but added that he had made the police aware of his actions as far back as 2008.