Ticket touts could have cheated schoolgirls out of tickets for I Love Manchester concert

Ariana Grande is to headline the I Love Manchester benefit concert that young Burnley fans may have missed out on due to ticket touts.
Ariana Grande is to headline the I Love Manchester benefit concert that young Burnley fans may have missed out on due to ticket touts.

Five young schoolgirls, who were caught up in the Manchester Arena bomb blast, were left "gutted" today after probably missing out on the chance to go to Sunday's benefit concert due to greedy ticket touts.

It is believed the I Love Manchester concert, which will be headlined by Ariana Grande and a host of other stars including Katy Perry, Robbie Williams and Justin Bieber, was targeted by unscrupulous ticket touts who posed as victims to make around 10,000 false claims for free seats.

Bella Whittaker (centre) and her friend Leah Dand with Leah's mum Rachel who fear they have missed out on tickets for the I Love Manchester benefit concert on Sunday.

Bella Whittaker (centre) and her friend Leah Dand with Leah's mum Rachel who fear they have missed out on tickets for the I Love Manchester benefit concert on Sunday.

Mum Nicola Watson of Ightenhill, who was at last week's concert with her daughters Alice (15) and 12-year-old Emily and Alice's pal, Holly Needham, said: "The girls had said they never wanted to go back to Manchester again never mind another concert.

"This would have been like getting back on the horse and I thought it would have helped.

"The kids are gutted."

Along with thousands of other fans, Nicola registered twice for free tickets in time for the 4pm deadline on Wednesday after the false claims fiasco threw the Ticketmaster website into chaos as organisers were unable to verify their details under the weight of applications.

Holly Needham (left) and Alice Watson who were gutted after missing out on tickets for Sunday's I Love Manchester benefit concert.

Holly Needham (left) and Alice Watson who were gutted after missing out on tickets for Sunday's I Love Manchester benefit concert.

They were informed that a link would be sent within 36 hours but that still has not arrived with just two days to go before the show at the Old Trafford Cricket ground in Manchester.

Also disappointed after failing to get tickets are pals Leah Dand and Bella Whittaker, both 11, who were at the Ariana Grande show with Leah's mum, Rachel.

Bella's mum, Mary Potter said: "It does seem terrible that a concert that has been organised to help people involved in this terrible incident has been sabotaged like this by unscrupulous people.

"The girls would have loved to have gone, they are very disappointed that it looks like it won't be happening for them."

Despite working through the night, Ticketmaster staff had to battle known touts and members of the public chancing their luck by claiming to have been at the concert when it was hit by a suicide bomb attack which killed 22 and left 59 seriously injured.

A spokesman for Ticketmaster said: “At Ticketmaster we are doing everything we can to ensure that tickets go to the actual fans and not the opportunists or touts who have also been applying for free tickets.”

The concert will see Ariana Grande joined by a Manchester children’s choir, as well as stars Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Take That, Little Mix, the Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Pharrell Williams and One Direction star Niall Horan

Pulled together in a matter of days, it will see a major security operation from police forces around the country, including armed officers and stringent searches, to keep young concert-goers safe.