Men face fraud trial over Open golf tickets

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TWO men are to stand trial accused of selling fraudulently obtained tickets to last year’s Open Championship – by advertising them on Gumtree.

Stephen Bradley and Joseph Smith, 43, both from Middlesex, failed to appear at Haddington Sheriff Court, but pleaded not guilty to using a credit card in someone else’s name to buy £5100 worth of tickets for the prestigious golf tournament.

The pair are also accused of the dishonest use of a credit card in the name of Arthur Bass to pay for goods at several pubs and restaurants in the East Lothian area in July last year.

It is claimed Mr Bradley and Mr Smith bought 68 tickets to the star-studded golf competition using Mr Bass’s Barclaycard credit card and attempted to sell them using the online trading site.

It is also claimed the pair then received £690 in ticket sales from ten unsuspecting golf fans who had replied to the advert, while court papers also state the offence was “aggravated by a connection with serious crime”

Mr Bradley, 53, has also pleaded not guilty to a second charge of possessing of cannabis.

Two further men, John Smith, 35, from Middlesex, and Gary Nichols, 47, from Surrey, who also failed to turn up to the court on Wednesday and had the case against them continued without plea.

All four men are facing charges of illegally buying and selling tickets for the annual golf tournament, which was held at Muirfield Golf Links, in East Lothian, last July.

John Smith and Nichols have been ordered to appear at the court to enter a plea in August, while Joseph Smith and Bradley will appear for trial in November.

The 143rd Open Championship teed-off at the Royal Liverpool golf course this week.