A serial ticket tout who began reoffending within six weeks of being released from prison has been sentenced to three years in jail.
David Spanton, 48, (11.07.1969) of Hawsted, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 8 June, after he pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud by false representation.
Spanton also pleaded guilty to nine counts of breaching the terms of a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO), imposed in October 2016, which banned him from being the director of a company or selling tickets without informing the Met's Lifetime Offender Management Unit.
He also admitted breaching a director disqualification order.
The Met's Organised Crime Command began an investigation into Spanton in January 2017, shortly after he was released from prison. Spanton had been sentenced to nine months in jail in August 2016 after a previous breach of his SCPO involving his ticket agency City Ticket Service.
The court heard that, within six weeks of being released from prison, Spanton set up a second company called Click for Tickets with his partner Jane Clapton.
The Met investigation revealed Clapton was appointed on 27 January 2017 as company director of Click for Tickets. The correspondence address for the company was Hawsted in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, which was Spanton's initial address on release from prison.
Officers established that 'Click for Tickets' was a front for Spanton to circumvent his SCPO and director disqualification order and Clapton - who had no knowledge of the ticketing industry - was aiding him.
Spanton and Clapton were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation at their previous home address in Forest Gate on 14 March 2017. A further warrant was also executed at the registered company address in Essex.
A number of exhibits were seized from both addresses and examined including mobile telephones and laptops as well as ticket invoices, bank statements, telephone bill records, membership cards for a number of Premier League clubs and a quantity of cash.
Analysis of company invoices revealed two merchant service providers had been used to provide payment processing services
These companies helped to provide evidence that Spanton has been running Click for Tickets as he provided them with his telephone number and had used the pseudonym 'David Brooks'.
Spanton also harvested large quantities of memberships at Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and West Ham, in order to buy multiple tickets for games. He did so by utilising 'drop addresses' in central London such as mailboxes and virtual offices where he would collect mail and therefore tickets and cards.
These tickets were sold for up to twenty times the face value and those purchasing were often tourists and businessmen from overseas. Not all those who paid for tickets ever received them or gained entry to the ground.
Police discovered that Spanton was connected on Whatsapp to a large group of nationwide ticket touts who acted in a similar way in their sales of tickets.
The total value of Spanton's fraud was £3,600. Due to the swift arrest by Met officers, most of the ticket sales were stopped or the victims were reimbursed by their credit card providers.
Jane Clapton, 44, (05.01.1974) of Hawsted, Buckhurst Hill, pleaded guilty to one count of encouraging or assisting an offender.
Spanton was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 8 June for three years. Clapton was ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.
A new SCPO was made, which prevents Spanton from being involved in the ticketing business and extends his director disqualification for a further 15 years.
Detective Sergeant Rob Tickle of the Met's Organised Crime Command said:
"David Spanton is a ticket tout who has been involved in that industry for a long time. His offending goes back to the 1998 World Cup.
"For the first time Spanton has admitted that he is what many have suspected he was for a long time; a dishonest man and a fraudster. He sought to deceive Companies House, merchant service providers and Premier League clubs and lied to all to try to get what he wanted.
"Spanton has shown a complete disregard for court orders and has refused to change his behaviour. Within three months of leaving prison in 2016, he deliberately set up Click for Tickets as a bogus ticket agency to act as a front through his partner Jane Clapton who helped him.
"As the result of good detective work Spanton and Clapton were caught at an early stage. Spanton will now spend a lengthy time in prison and will be unable to engage in similar offending for a significant period of time."