Mrs Brown’s Boys scam exposed at Birmingham theatre
Police in Birmingham are investigating after theatregoers were conned into buying tickets for a non-existent performance of Mrs Brown’s Boys.
The popular live show, starring the cast of the BBC sitcom, was advertised both online and in flyers to take place at the Windsor Theatre Bar in Bearwood.
Tickets for the show were being sold online through a Paypal account named Mint Studios for between £20 and £35 each, but police have now warned that it is a scam.
In June, theatre managers were approached by a man who wanted to put on a number of shows and events for charity. They agreed to give him the space for free, as he appeared to have a wide portfolio of similar work, on the condition that he sold tickets separately from the theatre.
But their suspicions were raised when the man, who police say has operated under a variety of names, began to advertise a Mrs Brown’s Boys show in posters at the theatre and on its Facebook page.
Co-director Paul Fletcher told The Stage: “I’m not naive. I phoned him up and said, ‘Look, this place has got a fantastic history… but I can’t see Mrs Brown’s Boys coming here, mate.’ They pack places like the O2 and the NEC arena.”
But Fletcher was reassured that Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll was a “personal friend” and had agreed to a small-scale performance for charity.
However, after contacting O’Carroll’s lawyers, he was told that there had never been a show scheduled and he called the police.
Though Fletcher did not know how many fake tickets had been sold, he estimated it could be “hundreds”.
He said: “I just feel absolutely God-felt sorry for all the people that’ve lost money. There’s a dark cloud hanging over my building today.”
But he went on: “Hopefully next week the sun will start to shine again. Because we’ve got to carry on, we’ve been here 26 years. We’re an integral part of the community. And we need to work our way through this, and rebuild the confidence of the local populace.”
West Midlands police said in a statement that it was investigating claims of fraudulent tickets being sold on behalf of the theatre.
A spokesman said: “We’ve received several calls regarding fraudulent tickets sold online by a third party for Mrs Brown’s Boys at the Windsor Theatre in Bearwood. This is a scam – anyone who has bought tickets to the event is asked to contact Action Fraud at the earliest possible opportunity to report it.”
He also cautioned buyers to contact the theatre directly before booking any further events at the venue.
A notice on the theatre’s Facebook page reads: “The Windsor Theatre is holding no events associated with Mint Studios or the person who has ‘organised’ such events. We have no association with this person whatsoever.”
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