Ticket scam pupils to watch England

SCHOOLCHILDREN targeted in an alleged World Cup ticket scam were celebrating last night after hearing they will be going to England's crunch quarter-final match.

SCHOOLCHILDREN targeted in an alleged World Cup ticket scam were celebrating last night after hearing they will be going to England's crunch quarter-final match.

More than 40 pupils from Copleston High School in Ipswich returned home devastated last week after learning the tickets they had paid for - to watch Portugal v Iran in Frankfurt - did not exist.

They were among 350 students from across the country who had paid almost £400 each for the tickets.

But last night the Government confirmed that FIFA had organised tickets for the Copleston group to travel to see a much more attractive match - England's game against Portugal in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.


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David East, assistant headteacher at Copleston, said: “We are delighted that the Government and FIFA have been able to arrange tickets for our students to see the England v Portugal match on Saturday. “We'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this trip, which will really make up for our earlier disappointment.

“I know all the students are very excited about seeing such an important game, and are looking forward to going to Germany again.”

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Pupil James Wright, 15, of Marlborough Road, Ipswich, said: “Everyone is just delighted. We thought it was all over and now it's even better than it was.

“I was really hacked off before. We had travelled 11 hours on the coach and got nothing. Now we're all ecstatic.”

The party is set to leave for the game early on Saturday morning, and the children will be equipped with cameras and video cameras to record what promises to be a memorable trip.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed last week that the pupils affected by the alleged scam would be given tickets for one of the quarter finals.

It followed a national outcry at the students' plight after the company arranging their trip, Activ4, found that its supplier had failed to provide the tickets.

On returning home, Copleston pupil Martin Careswell, 14, said: “When we heard our tickets were fake, the whole coach went from a good mood to moaning and anger.

“It was a real heartbreaker. I tried to keep it out of my thoughts but nothing could help the pain we all felt on the trip.”

Thames Valley Police have arrested a 38-year-old man and a woman in her 40s, both from Slough in Berkshire, on suspicion of obtaining monies by deception in connection with the investigation.

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