Fleetwood Town employee guilty of ticket office scam
A former employee of Fleetwood Town who took thousands of pounds from the club in a ticket refund scam has been found guilty.
David Holloway, 31, of Rossall Grange Lane, Fleetwood, denied abusing his position at the League One football club by fraudulently making false ticket refunds between July 2014 and June 2015.
He was found guilty following a trial at Preston Crown Court.
Holloway, who was accused of carrying out the scam along with ticket office worker David Hart,gave excessive refunds totalling £4,696 for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.
The fraud involved issuing cash refunds for tickets after matches had already kicked off and once the ticket had been used by a fan to enter the ground.
The court heard Holloway worked for the club for three years and Hart for a number of years in the ticket office.
The scam came to light plainly running came to light on Thursday February 25, 2016, a few days after a match against Scunthorpe
The club’s chief executive Stephen Curwood was made aware of a discrepancy from the tills in the ticket office by financial controller Tom Barnes in relation to the ticket sales.
The cash in the ticket office tills was off by £94, a large discrepancy for a club the size of Fleetwood Town.
It was checked with Ticket Office Manager Steve Metcalf when he got back from work a few days later and a probe was launched.
Jurors were told a variety of reasons were given by ‘dholloway’ for the refunds, the main one being a ‘prize giveaway’, as well as ‘under 16 pending’ and ‘visiting team coach driver’.
Tim Evans, prosecuting, explained to the court the simplicity of the scheme.
He said: “Operation of the ticket system, and therefore the nuts and bolts of this fraud, was a straight forward task.
“Tickets were issued selecting a seat from the stadium plan and clicking a button and refunding would operate in the same way – selecting a seat and pressing ‘Refund’ button.
“The number of refunds was by far and away in excess of normal business,” the court was told
The court heard as a comparison, on the last match day before Mr Metclafe made his statement, on September 3 against Coventry City there was a single refund.
For a game against MK Dons on April 14 2015, when the men were working in the ticket office together, Hart gave £110 of refunds and Holloway £205 worth, all within a five minute time frame at 10.30pm.
Fleetwood Town has since tightened up its refund procedures.
A spokesman said: “We are pleased that justice has been served. We have many loyal and honest staff at the football club and this is justice for them too.”