Brighton teenager weeps as judge jails him for £35k Bestival ticket fraud

Posted On 20 Jan 2017 at 5:35 pm

A Brighton teenager wept as he was jailed for defrauding hundreds of people out of at least £35,000 in a ticket scam.

Ben Hyland-Ward, 19, was sent to a young offender institution for 21 months for a fraud that dashed young music fans’ hopes of going to the Bestival pop music festival.

The teenager was attacked by three men at one point. He later tried to take his own life three times and needed hospital treatment as a result of the harm caused by an overdose.

At Hove Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Gold told Hyland-Ward: “You have pleaded guilty to a very serious offence of fraud.

“You accepted money from friends and others for festival tickets when you had no reasonable prospect of meeting your obligations.

“I accept you started legitimately (but) you were simply taking money hand over fist with no reasonable prospect of giving those people what you offered.”

The judge said that the offence was aggravated by the way he used the Bestival logo to create a fake confirmation email.

But he took into account references about Hyland-Ward’s good character as well as his depression and mental health difficulties.

Ben Hyland-Ward

Ben Hyland-Ward


Judge Gold made reference to Hyland-Ward crying as he stood in the dock in a smart three-piece suit and added: “I accept that you are genuinely remorseful.”

Hyland-Ward, a former Varndean schoolboy, of Westfield Avenue South, Saltdean, must serve at least half of his sentence.

The court was told that Hyland-Ward won trust when he managed to obtain discounted tickets for Bestival in 2015.

Shortly after offering tickets for Bestival 2015 for sale he started blowing thousands of pounds on days out at the races, foreign holidays and online gambling.

He put pressure on some of his friends to act as sales agents for him, with some of them borrowing hundreds of pounds to give to Hyland-Ward.

And he lied to those who pressed him for tickets or information as the festival date approached.

Rowan Jenkins, prosecuting, said that the victims’ losses could be as much as £50,000 while Hyland-Ward had lived it up in places such as Ascot, Berlin and Barcelona.

His barrister Ravi Dogra said in mitigation: “It is his intention to pay back the money that he owes. I’m not sure how realistic that is.”

Judge Gold said: “The trouble is the length of time he spent covering his tracks.

“He stands before me a young man of 19. I can see he is distraught. It’s too little, too late.”

  1. Bill Halliwell Reply

    I think the sentence is harsh. It’s the other people’s fault for being stupid enough to hand over money. He will get out on tag so could potentially be out in six months. Hold it together kid you’re a inspiration

    • Tamim Reply

      Since when is it someone’s FAULT for trusting the word of another man? We should be able to trust our fellow countrymen don’t you think? This attitude of: ‘as long as you don’t get caught doing it, it’s fair-game’ needs to be laid to rest. It is NOT how we should be living.

      You’re an inspiration? Really mate? Remind me never to do any kind of business’s with to you then!

    • L hyatt Reply

      My daughter and her friends where scamed by this lout he did not care ….. iam glad he is being punished and he should serve ALL of his sentence. … he should be made to pay each and everyone back ?

    • Richard Reply

      How is this kid an inspiration????????

    • lydia Reply

      you’ve clearly never been a victim of crime, what an awful thing to say.

    • lydia Reply

      This is an example of ‘victim blaming’, unfortunately seen too often. If someone broke into your house and stole from you, would it be your fault for having nice things?

  2. Tamim Reply

    I just hope prison doesn’t encourage him to carry on his career as a fraudster.

    For many people ice spoken with, prison is like a training ground for criminals. It’s where ideas and tactics for avoiding capture are shared.

    I hope he comes out a better person.

  3. nihal Reply

    Community service order enforced and a financial obligation to make recompense would have been more appropriate but maybe not available to the judge. Prison adds more cost. Not sure where ‘Inspiration’ comes from? Family?

  4. Julie Howlett Reply

    I hate it when people who have no idea what prison is like or have never been involved with a person who has spent time in prison feels the need to be vocal ,this bloke did not deserve to have his liberty taken away ,he did a stupid thing to earn money

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