A man who mistakenly believed he’d won £50,000 on the National Lottery was left with egg on his face upon discovering he’d scooped just six quid.
Dean Smethurst, 32, had a national lotto card checked on Wednesday May 8, and became rather excited after a checkout assistant told him she could not pay out the prize.
The staff member at Tesco told Dean he would have to contact Camelot to redeem his prize, prompting Dean to check the terms and conditions of the Camelot website – usually this is only necessary for wins of at least £50k which retailers don’t cash out.
Dean, bless him, was overtaken by excitement, rushing home and telling all of his friends and family the news. The Fake news. Sad.
Still miles ahead of any money hitting his bank balance, the supermarket manager ‘cracked open the bubbly.’
Move ahead to the next day and Camelot provided the heaviest dose of reality, pouring cold water on any plans for his spending.
The win turned out to be a measly three lucky dips on a future game – worth just £2 each – but hey, a win is a win.
I didn’t sleep because I was so excited. My house is like a building site at the moment so that was the first thing that I decided to spend my winnings on.
Then I decided to treat the family to a luxury holiday to Barbados. I spoke to the checkout girl and gave her the serial number of the ticket.
She inputted it and said: ‘Well done, you’ve won…three lucky dips’.
I asked her if she was sure, and then I asked to speak to a manager. I am absolutely gutted.
I thought, ‘this is it, it’s for real, my numbers have come up’.
I never thought to check my numbers, I didn’t think a company as large as Camelot could have got it wrong, I didn’t understand.
His rags-to-riches-back-to-rags tale wasn’t short on irony as the Tesco branch was actually a store he worked at earlier in his career.
I’d gone in to do a bit of shopping and I thought I’d check to see how I’d gone on in the previous Saturday’s draw.
All the other staff applauded me.
The receipt said I’d won a prize, that the store would not be able to pay it out and that I should contact Camelot immediately.
When the Camelot phone lines reopened at 8am on Thursday an excited Dean, who is currently in the process of renovating his £100k home, made the phone call he thought would change his life for ever.
It emerged the confusion resulted from the Wednesday lottery draw being in progress while Dean had his Saturday ticket checked, leading to the error message the checkout assistant encountered.
I was absolutely gutted.
It is back to the drawing board now.
A spokesman for Camelot said:
In this instance, the player attempted to claim a prize during a ‘draw break’, when National Lottery sales are suspended while a draw takes place.
The prize couldn’t be paid out at that time – because the ticket was still entered into a ‘live’ draw – so a validation slip was printed instead.
To clarify, this generic slip is used for a number of scenarios – it’s not exclusively used for high-tier prizes.
We’re so proud to support Jen Blackwell’s inclusive dance group @DanceSyndrome through #NationalLottery funding. She set up the charity in 2009 to provide dance opportunities for everybody, no matter what their ability. #AmazingStartsHere #LotteryFunded pic.twitter.com/m2hq11Smgb
— The National Lottery (@TNLUK) May 6, 2019
Having dug himself an almighty hole Dean at least had the Thursday off work to allow reality to settle back in.
“I just watched television and my mum made me some comfort food, which wasn’t much comfort,” he said.
What’s the lesson? Don’t ever get excited. About anything. Life is cruel and the universe is always waiting to crush you – I mean, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
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An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.