I received a plea on email from Musahid Syed who trades as Rosehill Newsagents. He wrote: “I am a very small retailer in Oxford. I have been selling lottery tickets for over 17 years for Camelot. Since the Covid outbreak we have not had any Camelot reps coming to our store. All expired Scratchcards should be collected by them or normally Camelot sends out a prepaid envelope to send back which has not happened for the past 18 months, so our expired Scratchcards have built up.”

He added that every time Camelot phones him, he mentions the Scratchcards and is always told that they would be picked up when a rep arrives.

Then he added: “Today I received a bill for £1,200 for not sending back the Scratchcards! I have tried to send back but told to wait. I cannot afford this money, please help me. I have enclosed a picture of a message from Camelot. (The message referred to an update on the March/April Scratchcard game closures, telling retailers that the Retail Sales Team would be picking up the closed packs of the 32 games affected “when it is safe to do so”.)

I got in touch with Camelot and a spokesperson replied: “Due to an error on our part, Mr Syed’s store was missed during our planned Retail Sales Team visits to collect Scratchcard packs – and he was told to wait for a future visit, at which point the packs would be collected. Unfortunately, a visit did not happen in time and the automated system charged him for the unreturned Scratchcard packs.

“We are really sorry that this has happened and for any unnecessary worry this has caused Mr Syed, who has been a valued National Lottery retailer for 18 years. We have now spoken to him to explain the situation and are processing a refund for the full amount.”