A retailer that I’m keeping anonymous got in touch saying he had had a visit from Camelot’s security department in April. They asked him how he was related to someone else with the same surname.
“I told them he was my brother and they said he has stolen some lottery tickets from where he was working and cashed them in my shop. I told them that he did check some tickets in my shop and a couple of them were winners and we paid out something like £40 or £50 to him. But I said I had no way of knowing that those tickets were stolen; I have only put them through the machine and the machine told me to pay out. I asked them where I made a mistake or where I have failed to follow any procedures, but they failed to answer.
“They then said they were suspending my terminal and took away all my scratchcards. When they took the scratchcards they did not count them or give me a receipt, which I think they should have done. They could have pocketed half of them. I have appealed their decision but had no luck. They terminated our contract in July.”
He adds: “If they knew of any stolen tickets they should have cancelled them. I have operated a lottery machine at various stores for more than 15 years and never had any problems and paid my bills on time every week. Why would they think that I would risk my livelihood to be knowingly involved in cashing stolen lottery tickets to the value of £40-50. If they suspect this why aren’t they involving police?”
I approached Camelot for an official response and here it is: “I’ve spoken with my colleagues in our Security Department about this and they have assured me that they conducted this investigation in line with our usual rigorous procedures.
“My colleagues both visited (Mr X’s) store and wrote to him on a number of occasions, fully explaining the reasons for our action. (MrX) was also given the opportunity to appeal the decision.
“As you know, we take National Lottery game integrity and security very seriously - so will not hesitate to take appropriate action if we feel this has been undermined.”
Mr X is still pursuing Camelot. He wrote to its complaints department and its retailer helpline that the terminal and play station had been taking up valuable space in his shop for the past seven months and he had been told it was going to be a few more weeks yet. He wrote: “Please take this email as a formal notice that from today and onwards I will be charging Camelot £50 a day rent for your equipment that takes up space in my shop. I would also like to report your colleague who stole our scratchcards to the police and I would be grateful if you could provide their details to me.”
He is in the process of selling the business and his buyer also wants to know if the machine is staying or going.