Rapper Ja Rule, refused in the UK before the concert in Cardiff

Rapper Ja Rule has said he was refused entry to the UK, days before his tour was due to kick off in Cardiff.

Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr. PHOTO: Facebook

The American musician, whose real name is Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr, was supposed to start the British leg of his Sunrise tour on Friday, at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff, writes bbc.com.

The 47-year-old artist stated that his criminal record was the reason for the refusal.

He was also due to perform in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

Best known for hits like “Always On Time“, “Ashanti”and “Thug Lovin“, he wrote on social networks: “I'm so devastated – I can't believe the UK won't let me in. I spent half a million dollars of my own money to put this tour together, only to be denied entry a few days before my shows. It's not fair to me or my fans – these venues are 85% sold out and now I can't come.”

Ja Rule, who was released from prison in May 2013 after serving two years for firearms possession and tax evasion, added: “The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts the entry of people with criminal records.

You are generally likely to be refused entry if you have been convicted of an offense punishable by 23 months or more under UK law or if you have served more than 12 months in prison.”

Tickets for the shows are still available on Ticketmaster.

After a fan tweeted the company to ask about refunds, the site's customer service team responded: “Once we receive confirmed information, an email will be sent to all customers for this event.”