Woman who bought tickets and sold them for profit jailed for four years

A woman who ran a multimillion-pound touting business which bought and sold tickets on an “industrial scale” has been jailed for four years by judge who said she acted “out of greed”. Maria Chenery-Woods, who was known as the Ticket Queen, was the driving force behind Norfolk-based TQ Tickets Ltd, which used dozens of identities to buy tickets for high-profile acts such as Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga and sell them on secondary ticket websites, often at highly inflated prices, a judge said.

The 54-year-old was jailed at Leeds Crown Court on Friday alongside her employee Paul Douglas, who was given a prison sentence of two years and five months. Chenery-Woods’s husband Mark Woods and her sister Lynda Chenery, who is also Douglas’s ex-wife, were given suspended prison sentences by Judge Simon Batiste.

Chenery-Woods and Douglas admitted fraudulent trading but Woods and Chenery were convicted by a jury earlier this year which heard how TQ Tickets sold ticket worth more than £6.5 million between 2015 and 2017. But Judge Batiste said this figure only covered part of the period the company was trading and did not include hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of unsold tickets trading standards officers found when they raided its offices in the Norfolk village of Dickleburgh.

Judge Batiste said: “What was being done was purely to maximise profit and out of greed.” He said: “Your aim was to rinse or fleece customers out of as much money as you could.”

Chenery-Woods, of Dickleburgh, near Diss, Norfolk, and Douglas, 57, of Pulham Market, Norfolk, admitted three counts of fraudulent trading earlier this year. Chenery, 52, and Woods, 60, both of Dickleburgh, were found guilty of the same charges.

Woods was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and told he must observe an electronically monitored curfew between 8pm and 6am for four months. Chenery, who sobbed uncontrollably as she was sentenced, was given a 21-month jail sentence, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work with a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.