As of 3:00PM today, the winner of EuroMillions draw number 348 of Friday 8th October and the prize of £113,019,926 has not come forward. It seems that Camelot’s Mr Carter’s suggestion – that the winner would present their ticket to be scanned prior to purchasing another did not take place. There now appears to be a possibility that this ticket has been lost. Of course there are numerous other explanations: the winner could be on holiday or away from home for another reason such as business. There are however another possibilities that Camelot MUST act upon:
One is the possibility – and the British Gazette stresses that it is just a possibility – that the winning ticket has been stolen by a dishonest sales assistant in a National Lottery retailer. The chance of this being the case are increased if the ticket was a “Lucy Dip” (i.e., one with numbers selected by the lottery terminal at time of purchase).
Other possibilities include a dishonest member of a lottery syndicate. It is possible that this person upon realising the enormity will have got greedy and be in the process of planning how they can claim the winnings for themselves and not share it. British Gazette readers may well feel that with £113,019,926 to share between them, the motivation for fraud is reduced. However, let us say the ticket was one bought on behalf of a large syndicate of 200 (many firms will have a company syndicate, in the manner of the company sweep stake on the Grand National) the fraudster may feel that £565,099.63 pence is not enough! CCTV footage is essential to prove that this person bought the ticket along with the others.
There is however another possibility, one paradoxically the subject of the TV sit-com, “At home with the Braithwaites.” This sit-com told the tale of a mother in a dysfunctional family winning £38 million on the EuroMillions lottery. At the plot’s core was the fact that the winning ticket had been purchased by the mother’s daughter as a birthday present for her mum. However, the child was under sixteen and therefore could not legally purchase a ticket. This resulted in the cruel result that the family were deprived of the win. Were such a situation to occur in reality this is what would happen. The child would see the £113,019,926 go to “the Good Causes.” The retailer who unlawfully sold the child the ticket would be prosecuted and would receive a fine in the Magistrates court. If this is the case, the young person involved and any parent of other adult also involved will have realised that if it is discovered that the ticket was purchased by a minor they would not be able to obtain the prize. It is therefore probable that they was waiting for as long as possible before claiming in the hope that the CCTV evidence will have been deleted by the retailer. Were such a situation to have occurred it is also possible that a dishonest parent in such a case would approach the retailer, explain the situation and offer them a share of the winnings for “keeping quiet” and ensuring that the CCTV footage is deleted or destroyed.
The chances of a dishonest parent’s success would of course depend upon whether or not they could corrupt the lottery retailer from where their child bought the winning ticket. If a large store they would have to find a member of staff who had access to the CCTV recording equipment. This would likely mean approaching one person who would in turn approach another. This scenario is unlikely as supermarkets and other large retailers have “cracked down” of late in terms of under age sales. Were an under sixteen year old to succeed in buying a lottery ticket it would most likely be from a small corner shop/newsagent whose owner is less than zealous about under age sales. In these circumstances, the dishonest parent’s chances of success are higher as the retailer has already committed a criminal offence and shown themselves by their conduct to break the law. Whether the conspirators were caught would depend upon how they set about seeking to remove the CCTV footage. This would in turn depend upon what medium the video data as stored. Traditionally VHS tapes were used. Many of these machines have been replaced with either DVD or hard disk recorders. The hard disk recorder is the most common as their lifetime costs are the lowest. In the first two cases VHS and DVD the tape/disk would presumably “go missing.” In the case of a hard disk recorder the retailer may delete the footage before the thirty one days. Not only would this cause any visiting police officer to become suspicious, it would fail in its purpose (to conceal the evidence) for although deleted the information is still on the hard drive and ccan be recovered using special techniques. Many paedophiles are in prison because they thought they had destroyed the evidence by merely deleting the files. To avoid detection the only way of removing the evidence is to physically destroy the hard disk itself. In the case of a hard disk recorder with swappable disks this is easy. With a fixed disk the conspirator would have to remove it themselves (which requires a certain level of technical skill and knowledge) or employ the services of a computer technician. In these circumstances the retailer would likely ask the computer technician to “upgrade” the recorder with a hard disk of a greater capacity, the retailer presumably ensuring that they obtained the possession of the old disk so they could destroy it.
The British Gazette is firmly of the opinion that Camelot is under a duty to take certain steps to ensure that IF any of these scenarios take place then the miscreants are apprehended and the lawful beneficiary (individual, syndicate or “Good Causes”) is united with their property and its prize.
Let us examine what Camelot know and can and should do.
Camelot will know quite a lot. They will know precisely where (the retailer) and when (date and time) the ticket was bought. They will know if it was a “Lucky Dip” or a number selection made by the punter. They will know where the lottery terminal is located in that retailer and will be able to come to a conclusion on the likelihood of the area around the terminal is covered by in store CCTV. NB: It is almost a “racing certainty” that this area will be covered by CCTV and therefore the purchaser of the winning ticket will have been recorded on such. Camelot will know that the images – whether stored on hard disk, DVD or VHS tape are stored for 31 days and then deleted.
In the opinion of the British Gazette, the actions that Camelot MUST take are as follows:
To contact the police in the immediate locale of the lottery retailer, explain to them the situation and ask them – AS A MEASURE OF CRIME PREVENTION – to do the following:
- To go to this lottery retailer – before the 31 days are up – and ask the retailer for ALL the images recorded in the store for the five minutes either side of the lottery ticket purchase to be copied and handed over to the police. NB: This is not an unheard of occurrence for retailers. The retailer need not be told why the police want the images. Furthermore it would be wise for the police to acquire these images without altering the shop staff. If it is the case that the retailer is such as a Tesco or otherwise part of a large chain, then the head office of such a firm can arrange for the police to go in when the store is closed and without the shop staff knowing. If the police find that the retailer has destroyed (accidently on purpose) the video footage in question before the 31 days then their suspicions should be aroused.
If Camelot take these precautions, then should the ticket turn out to be stolen the thief or thieves can be apprehended when they come forward – probably quite near the 180 day limit, 6th April, 2011.
This possibility that the £113,019,926 ticket was purchased by a child under sixteen and those consequences apart from fraud are a proper subject for the British Gazette and its readers to ponder upon. One can only imagine the effect on say a fourteen year old finding themselves deprived of £113,019,926 and seeing it be paid to “the Good Causes.” If this is the case then the British Gazette is firmly of the opinion that in such extraordinary circumstances a “special case” be made. That is not to say that the entire £113,019,926 or anything approaching this sum should be paid to the child. Instead the British Gazette is firmly of the opinion that a fund should be set up for the child to pay for the child’s continuing education. It may be the case that the child’s educational prospects could be improved by sending them to a fee paying private school. The child’s university tuition fees and other costs could be paid for from the fund. In addition, monetary rewards could be offered as incentives for the child to do well in their exams and education. Upon reaching adulthood the young person could be assured that they would have a reasonable retirement income. This would not involve a huge sum as any pensions professional will state, a lump sum invested in a pension fund on a person’s 21st birthday will over forty years have sufficient time to grow into an appreciable sum. What such a policy would do is to make it clear to the child/young person that they would (like the most of us) have to work to gain the standard of living they desire – but at least the “Good Causes” would have ensured that they get the best possible start in life and that a reasonably comfortable retirement would be catered for.