THE first time I tried to make a fast buck was back in 1982 when, as a student In Newcastle, The Rolling Stones came to play in the city.

Everyone who was anyone spoke of how hugely in demand the tickets would be, and how the resale value would quickly rocket. That’s how I came to I spend a chilly, uncomfortable night, with a couple of like-minded friends, sleeping rough outside St James’ Park, where tickets were to go on sale first thing the following morning.

With no intention of going to the concert, I bought four, at a cost of around £20 each, feeling guilty at this unethical use of my student grant but reassured as to how much I was going to make.

It turned out, however, that the band was nowhere near as popular in the north-east as people imagined. Ticket sales were slow. I advertised my tickets in the local paper with no takers, and fretted as to how I would recoup my money. I eventually offloaded them - at the same price for which I’d bought them - to a friend of my flatmate.

If there’s a chance to make money fast, with minimal effort, people are only too eager to try their luck.

It did not take long for some of those invited into grounds of Windsor Castle to enjoy the royal wedding to place their gift bags on eBay. One reportedly fetched thousands. It’s not something I would have felt comfortable doing, particularly as they were invited for their devotion to good causes, yet profiting was clearly in the minds of the guests the minute they received them.

It’s far easier nowadays to make a few bob in this way. Internet sites like eBay and eBid have revolutionised selling. Gone are the days when you’d stick a notice in a newsagent’s window and hope someone would wander by, or place a notice the local paper’s small ads.

Now there’s a global shop window, and anything goes. No longer the domain of furniture, bikes, children’s toys, and musical instruments, people sell anything and everything. Sites are as likely to feature items such as Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten toast or a corn flake shaped like the pope as garden furniture and Welsh dressers.

My sister has sold a variety of wacky items online, including water scooped up from the wash of Winston Churchill’s funeral boat, sailing up the Thames three years ago in his memory. Incredibly, it was snapped up by a buyer in America.

There seems to be market in the USA for anything connected with British pomp and ceremony. She has also sold horse manure scooped up off the road outside Buckingham Palace and an open packet of jelly babies, half consumed by well-wishers outside St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where Kate Middleton had just given birth to Prince George.

She regularly cashes in with many normal items too, from clothing to photographic equipment.

Being a bit of a technophobe, I’ve never used eBay, but I have a cupboard full of stuff waiting for when I eventually do.

I’ve got coins, old books, records and all manner of knick-knacks crying out to be listed. I’m hoping that when I finally get around to it, it will boost my meagre pension.

But, unless I come across a lost Van Gogh or Ming vase at a car boot sale, one thing I will be very wary of doing is intentionally buying something to resell.

This year the Rolling Stones are once again touring the UK. Tickets were allegedly selling online for more than £1,000 even before they were officially on sale. Some venues have sold out, but, as I write, tickets are still available. Even though they are easy to obtain, with a click of a mouse - and no nights shivering under the stars - I would never again be tempted to try my luck as a ticket tout.