A CONMAN with 29 previous convictions for fraud has been jailed for 20 months, after helping to steal tickets for the Uefa Champion's League Final last summer worth nearly £150,000.

Lewis Hudson, 40, from Manchester, targeted ticketholders at the Holiday Inn in Rhoose – near Cardiff airport – which accommodated much of the air traffic bringing people to the event, netting him tickets worth £58,000.

Police believe that Hudson did not act alone and are still trying to identify other suspects involved in the case.

He was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday, February 7, after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

Over two days (Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1) during the week-long fever which gripped the region ahead of the final on June 3, Hudson duped reception workers at two separate hotels into handing over packages containing Champions League Final tickets worth £60,600 and VIP hospitality tickets worth £84,000.

The parcels had all been delivered to the hotels for expectant customers, some who had travelled thousands of miles to enjoy the occasion between Real Madrid and Juventus at the Principality Stadium.

Hudson presented himself as a guest to the hotel reception desk and asked if parcels had been delivered for him, each time giving the correct name, suggesting that others may have been involved in the scam. On one occasion, he brazenly stopped to check the contents of a parcel, confirming with the hotel worker that ‘everything’s there’ and saying ‘thank you’, before leaving through a back door.

He was identified following an anonymous tip-off after a media appeal using stills from hotel CCTV. Two months later was arrested by Northamptonshire Police at Silverstone, when event staff there became suspicious that he was selling tickets.

Detective constable Gillon Neal, said: “Lewis Hudson is a career conman who travelled to south Wales looking to cash in on a fortune, regardless of the consequences that it could have had for so many people. It was fraud on a big scale, but luckily, thanks to the contingencies put in place by Uefa, those who had tickets stolen could still enjoy what they came for. Using the hotel’s CCTV, we were able to pick out who was responsible and share good quality stills with the media – he was quickly identified and in August he was caught, this time at Silverstone."

He added: “Conmen like him are able to make huge sums of money but they are motivated by a thriving black market fuelled by people who let nothing get in the way of seeing their favourite music act or sports team and are willing to get their hands on a ticket wherever it has come from. I would urge buyers to think twice about what they are doing and to consider the consequences that their unscrupulous buying has upon those who have had tickets stolen.”