The cliche "finders keepers, losers weepers" was firmly rejected this week as a Swindon, UK couple admitted to theft and fraud in a criminal court.
The couple found a lottery ticket on the floor of a supermarket in April this year, noted that the buyer had not endorsed it with an identifying mark or name, and cashed it in, going on a spending spree with their GBP 30 000 windfall.
Unfortunately for them, the real owner of the ticket had used her habitual numbers, recognised that she had won, and reported the loss of the ticket.
The finders received a suspended sentence in the court sequel this week, and were ordered to pay the ticket owner the GBP 15 000 that remained from the win. To get the other half of her win however, the real owner will have to sue the UK National Lottery organisers, Camelot, which has refused to pay out again.
"This is not the final episode. My solicitor has advised me not to elaborate on the pursuance of the matter with Camelot. I am infuriated and deeply offended by their negligence and attitude," the visibly upset owner said after the case, which she described as "unrealistic and farcical."
A spokesman for Camelot said the company sympathised with the real owner, but added: "At the time of payment, Camelot had no reason to suspect the identity of the individual claiming the prize, nor any reason to suspect the ticket was lost or stolen. We urge National Lottery players to write their name and address in the space provided on the back of the ticket – this ensures that the player can be quickly identified as the rightful owner."