DAMIEN RICE, the multi-platinum selling Irish singer-songwriter, has called on ticket touts to stop cashing in on resales for an environmental charity gig he is playing.

The rock star, known for hits such as Cannonball and Volcano, issued the plea to re-sale site Viagogo on his website, requesting they stop selling tickets for his first-ever concert in Naples. The gig will raise funds for the Breathe project, a major tree planting project on a mountain in the south west of Italy, aimed at preventing flooding in the area.

Rice wrote: "Dear Viagogo and secondary market ticket sellers. We organised the concert in Naples on May 19th as a charity event. We are donating all profits towards planting trees on Mount Olivella, Sapri. We ask you to stop reselling tickets on your website for financial profit. All profits for this event are intended to go to nature."

He also called on fans "not to buy over-priced tickets from Viagogo" stressing "there will be another Damien Rice concert in Naples another time".

Yesterday tickets for the gig on Viagogo's website were going for £376.37 each, despite a face value of between £21-£38.

The call is the latest in a barrage of criticism that has hit Viagogo in recent weeks. Last month it was accused of “moral repugnance” by the FanFare Alliance for seeking to profit from an Ed Sheeran concert that is in aid of teenage cancer patients by reselling single tickets for the Royal Albert Hall gig for Teenage Cancer Trust for up to £1,250 – before VAT and booking fees are factored in.

The tickets, which carry a face value of £75, could end up being worthless as the charity said it planned to turn away anyone who had bought a ticket on Viagogo.

Earlier in February management for Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro also hit out at the online company for reselling tickets for a gig that aimed to raise funds for charity War Child.

Antonio Oriente, one of the founders of the Breathe project, said: "Since we haven't a grant, the concert and crowdfunding will help us to make this project possible, mostly buying trees and putting in place an irrigation system. It was really disappointing that a lot of fans couldn't buy their tickets because of the touts."

Rice launched his solo career in 2002 and his debut album, O, went quadruple platinum. His third and most recent album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, was released in 2014. He's also known for his interest in human rights projects.

The Breathe project, which will be designed by Spanish artist Escif and aims to reforest Mount Olivella by planting 5000 trees on the mountain in the shape of a battery, is his latest cause célèbre. The kickstarter on Indiegogo has so far raised €7,718 of its €30,000 target.

The issue of ticket touts – or secondary ticket sales – is currently subject to an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee prompted by an independent report written by Professor Michael Waterson, of Warwick University's department of economics. He submitted his recommendations for tighter regulation last May and said he understood a response from the government was imminent.

He claimed some secondary sellers did take a moral stand on selling tickets for charity gig, while others failed to do so.

"The choice is there," he added. "Some sites will simply not deal with tickets for these type of events. Others might sell them but not charge a fee so they are not benefitting. Others make no distinction. But I don't think separate legislation is needed for charity gigs. I'd just like to see proper legislation working for all ticket sales."

The Sunday Herald contacted Viagogo for comment but the company did not respond.