Ticket Worth Millions Ends Up in the Bin
Fred and Lesley Higgins, a retired couple from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, bought a ticket for the 10th July draw from Scotmid on High Street, Laurencekirk, and Mr. Higgins returned to the shop after the draw to get it checked. However, after running the ticket through the machine, the shop worker mistakenly told him that it wasn’t a winner, before tearing it in half and throwing it in the bin.
It was only after the lottery machine alerted the worker that the ticket holder should contact Camelot, the operator of the UK National Lottery, that the error was discovered. The two halves of the ticket were promptly retrieved and handed back to Mr. Higgins for the couple to make their claim.
Speaking about the moment their multi-million pound lottery ticket went in the bin, Mr. Higgins said: “I handed the ticket over and the young man put it through the machine, telling me it wasn't a winner. He ripped the ticket in two and threw it into the bin, as they would with all non-winning tickets. But this time, the terminal produced a chitty which said I needed to retain my ticket and call Camelot.
“The retailer immediately grabbed it out of the bin and handed it to me, not realising it was a winner before he discarded it."
Mr. Higgins took the ticket home and logged on to the National Lottery website to check the numbers while his wife napped. He said: “The first matched, then the second matched, match, match - we had them all. When Lesley woke, I explained we had a winning ticket and what had happened. I showed her the numbers, asked her to check and she misread them, thinking we were £5.7m richer rather than an amazing £57m.”
Mr. Higgins then called Camelot to initiate the claim process. Due to the unusual circumstances of claiming a jackpot with a torn ticket, a security team from Camelot visited the couple and reviewed CCTV footage from the shop to make sure everything was above board. This led to a slight delay in awarding the prize and publicising the couple’s win, but they’re now free to plan what they’re going to do with their winnings.
“We had a really comfortable life before the win”, Mr. Higgins said, “but we did have dreams of living abroad. We love Gozo, which is where my niece lives, so we always thought we would get somewhere out there.
“But I have to say since we won, I've got my eye on somewhere in France and Lesley seems to be looking at property in Barbados. I think it might be fun to explore a few places before we commit to buying anything."
What Usually Happens If a Winning Ticket Is Damaged?
Damaging a winning lottery ticket doesn’t automatically invalidate it, but the possibility of claiming a prize with it depends on how extensive the damage is and if Camelot can otherwise verify it if important details have been rendered illegible.
The National Lottery advises that if a winning ticket is lost, damaged, or destroyed, you should inform them in writing within 30 days of the draw taking place. You would need to provide as much information about the ticket as possible, such as when and where you bought it, the game(s) and draw date(s) that the ticket was bought for, the exact draw that the ticket won a prize in and what happened to the ticket after you bought it.
Your claim will then be reviewed by the National Lottery using the information you provide and the prize in question may be paid out at the lottery’s discretion. The exceptional circumstances of the Higgins’ win and the value of their prize means that extra measures were taken in their case to ensure the claim was a genuine one. Don’t expect security teams to turn up at your door if you use a damaged ticket to claim a prize of lesser value.
EuroMillions Jackpot Already Back Up to £61 Million
It has only been three weeks since the Higgins’ won the £57.9 million jackpot, but incredibly the top prize in EuroMillions is already back up to £61 million for the draw on Friday 3rd August. A player in Spain won £15 million in the draw after the Higgins’ landed their jackpot, but is has gone unwon since then, rolling over five consecutive times.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning £61 million and exceeding the fortunes of the latest big winners from the UK, choose your numbers online or head to your local lottery retailer to pick up a ticket. Just make sure they don’t throw it in the bin.