Fake vintage FA Cup tickets: Conman James Warren jailed
A fraudster who made photocopies of vintage FA Cup tickets and swindled collectors out of £37,000 has been jailed for 15 months.
James Joseph Warren, of Carshalton, Surrey, conned fans of teams such as Manchester United with fake football memorabilia by altering real tickets.
The judge said Warren, who spent all the money, turned thoroughly dishonest after becoming an alcoholic gambler.
At Swansea Crown Court Warren, 57, admitted six fraud offences.
Dyfed-Powys Police said a "complex and protracted investigation" had found Warren was a "prolific fraudster" with victims from across the UK.
One was a man from Ceredigion duped into paying more than £21,000 for 39 tickets he believed were for a cup final before World War I.
Warren sometimes used false names when he contacted his targets online. He told them that the tickets were inherited from his grandfather.
The truth was he had bought real vintage tickets at a car boot sale, then altered the details and used a laser printer to produce fakes.
Lifelong Bradford supporter Gary Rhodes was conned of £2,000 with fake tickets to the team's 1911 final, the only one the club has won.
£1 confiscation order
Manchester United supporter Leslie Millman wanted tickets to the team's 1909 semi-final and final wins. He paid £3,000 for Warren's fabrications.
Another victim, Richard Longhurst, was conned of £11,700 for fake tickets to a 1901 final.
Creighton Harvey, prosecuting, said even ticket stubs were highly valued in the huge market in soccer memorabilia.
Mr Harvey said the prosecution accepted that Warren had no assets.
But the judge, Mr Recorder Greg Bull, made a confiscation order of a nominal £1 and warned Warren he would be made to repay the money he swindled if he ever won the lottery.
Dyfed Thomas, defending, said: "It is remarkable that a man of his age and background should suddenly embark on his course of dishonesty.
"He became an alcoholic gambler and if he goes to jail he knows it is his own fault. But prison will be very hard for him."
Mr Recorder Bull said despite the defendant's lack of previous convictions and his work record "the real you was a thoroughly dishonest fraudster".
He noted that Warren had been having an extramarital affair at the time of the offences. The court was told he spent the money on a woman, drinking and gambling.
Dyfed-Powys Police called it a "complex and protracted investigation," and PC Neil Davies said: "This sentence sends out a clear message to criminals who commit these types of offences".