A retired couple has scooped a £57.9m EuroMillions jackpot after a shop assistant told them they hadn’t won, ripped their ticket in two and threw it in the bin.
Fred, 67, and Lesley Higgins, 57, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire were announced as the winners this morning.
The couple scooped the jackpot even though their winning ticket was mistakenly torn in two.
Thankfully, an automated message on the lottery terminal their local Aberdeenshire shop told them to keep hold of the ticket and call operator Camelot.
Fred and Lesley fished the ticket out of the bin and took it home where Fred checked the numbers and found that he was a winner.
But initially the pair misread the number of their prize and thought he had scooped £5.7 million rather than £57 million.
Mr Higgins said: “I handed the ticket over and the young man put it through the machine, telling me it wasn’t a winner.
“He ripped the ticket in two and threw it into the bin, as they would with all non-winning tickets.
“But this time, the terminal produced a chitty which said I needed to retain my ticket and call Camelot. The retailer immediately grabbed it out of the bin and handed it to me, not realising it was a winner before he discarded it!”
— The National Lottery (@TNLUK) August 2, 2018
He went on: “The ticket had been torn in two but all the numbers were still clear so I took it back home to make the call.
“Lesley was snoozing so I thought I would look at the website to double-check the numbers and sure enough, the first matched, then the second matched, match, match – we had them all!
“When Lesley woke, I explained we had a winning ticket and what had happened.
“I showed her the numbers, asked her to check and she misread them, thinking we were £5.7 million richer rather than an amazing £57 million!
“I felt really calm at that point – I think it was just sinking in – so I then called Camelot and explained what had happened.”
Mr Higgins, a retired Audi administrator, added: “I wasn’t ever concerned that we wouldn’t get the money as I knew it was an honest mistake – it just had to be looked at to make sure everything was correct.”
Once the money was in their account, Mrs Higgins handed in her notice from her role as account manager at the Montrose Port Authority.
The couple, who have been married for 35 years, have already bought a brand new Audi cabriolet and are considering visiting India and China as well as looking at second homes in Barbados.
Mr Higgins continues to play the lottery and won £25 the week after scooping the jackpot.
A Camelot spokesman said: “We are so glad to be able to pay Fred and Lesley this amazing sum. It is essential that we ensure we are paying the rightful ticket-holder, and in situations like this it can take a little time for these investigations to be completed.”
The couple’s winning EuroMillions numbers were 3, 8, 26, 33, 45 and the two Lucky Stars were 7 and 10.