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IFS AND BUTTS.. INVESTIGATE.

Byline: Penman; Sommerlad

AFTER more than two years on our "most wanted" list, we finally got the chance to tackle ticket tout Roland Butts over all the heartbreak and hardship he's caused.

Butts, 27, also known as Joe, was the company secretary of SOS Master Tickets, which folded three years ago after selling thousands of tickets for concerts, festivals and comedy gigs.

There's no official figure for the loss, but we've been told up to pounds 1.5million of tickets were never delivered.

Laura Stock handed over pounds 800 for four V Festival passes and was told to ring a "Jay O'Neil" on his mobile phone when she got inside the venue.

But the phone was off when Laura called and she was left to join hundreds of other scammed fans outside.

John Naughton, from Bow, East London, paid pounds 285 for two Madonna tickets. He said: "We couldn't really afford them but I thought it'd be a special present for both of us as I am disabled and my wife cares for me."

Butts and sole director Robert Darling, 31, vanished, though we later heard Butts was living in Spain. After a tip-off, we waited outside Joe's mum's house in Fetcham, Surrey, when a man emerged and got into a swanky convertible black Mercedes.

So was he Roland Butts? No, he said, giving the name Etienne Morala.

Moments after he drove off, we knocked on the door of the house. It was answered by a builder. When we asked to speak to Joe Butts, he replied: "You've just missed him."

A second builder then came to the door and demanded to know who we were. He told us the person who had just left the house wasn't Butts, rather an architect called Mark Webb.

But he hadn't quite finished and let loose a volley of abuse, shouting: "Go on, fxxx off you nosey wxxxxrs."

Last year, Butts was stopped by police officers while driving the very same black Mercedes. His passenger at the time was Clare Brigg, whose name was also recently used to register the new ticket site www.blceventtickets.com, which is based in Spain.

You have been warned.

CAPTION(S):

CLASH Penman confronts Butts. Or Morala. Or maybe Webb
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2011
Words:373
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