TWO women carried out an internet scam in which people were conned out of money for festival tickets which they never received.
A court heard Sonia Arif and Kay Balster, both aged 23, ripped off six victims and made £1,675 before they were caught.
Leeds Crown Court heard the pair posted on the Gumtree classified advertisements site purporting to be selling tickets for the Secret Garden Party Music Festival.
The event is an annual independent arts and music festival which takes place in Abbots Ripton near Huntingdon, attracting around 26,000 revellers.
David Bradshaw, prosecuting, said several people responded to the advertisements. Money was paid into Arif’s account but no tickets were forthcoming.
The court heard the pair carried out the illegal enterprise between June and July 2011.
Arif, of Grange Avenue, Chapeltown, and Balster, now of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, were arrested and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.
Mr Bradshaw said both of them denied setting up the scam.
He added: “It is impossible to decide who actually thought of it. Both took their part in it. Arif’s bank account was used for receiving money and withdrawing it. Balster seems to have taken some part in operating it.”
The court heard Balster has previous convictions for dishonesty including five offences for making false representations. One includes a conviction relating to a ticket scam on the same website.
Lawyers for both women said they were remorseful for what they had done.
Balster was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and made the subject of a 12-month supervision order. Arif was given a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, and told to do 150 hours unpaid work.
Judge Christopher Batty said: “The problem with this type of fraud is that it is easy to commit and it undermines the confidence of those who use sites such as this. It is very serious indeed.”