THE parents of a six year old One Direction superfan believe they have been duped by an online agency marred by scandal after expensive tickets to the band's UK tour failed to arrive.

Andrew and Carolyn Boast, of Dringhouses, bought a pair of tickets for the boy band's Sunderland concert next week from online ticket agency Smart Cloud, as a birthday treat for daughter Ellie.

Now, less than a week before the event, the family have shelled out a second time for replacement tickets after Smart Cloud failed to deliver.

Andrew said: "Ellie's birthday was in April, we made her a pretend ticket to open and she was really excited."

Buying the tickets months in advance, Andrew said the company seemed legitimate, and even sent a tree T shirt for Ellie when the tickets were booked.

At first, the family were not worried when the tickets did not arrive as the agency specifically said it would not issue tickets until a week before the concert.

It was when that date came and went they began to get concerned, and some research online showed countless stories of Smart Cloud customers across the country whose tickets had never arrived.

The Boasts tried the company's phone line and website to get answers but found neither were working, Andrew added.

"My wife rang me in tears on Wednesday, when I was on the school run. She was distraught - how could we explain this to a six-year-old?"

Faced with a devastated little girl, they set about finding replacement tickets and were luckily able to buy another pair on Ticketmaster, but have been left £140 out of pocket by the missing Smart Cloud tickets and with worse seats than they originally bought.

Now Andrew said they want others to be warned so they can avoid similar situations.