Kent

Gravesend shop worker guilty of lottery fraud

A shop worker from Kent has been found guilty of trying to con a lottery syndicate out of a £79,887 payout by telling them they had won just £10.

Imran Pervais, 26, of Milton Road, Gravesend, misled the winning group after their ticket had matched five balls and the bonus ball.

He had been working at a convenience store in the town last May when the victim checked four lottery tickets.

Sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court was adjourned for reports.

'Bin bags'

Callum Crosier, who puts on 28 lines a week as part of a work syndicate for himself and 27 colleagues at Morrisons Utility Services, in Chatham, did not realise he had fallen victim to fraud until he returned to work and checked the numbers.

Kent Police said he realised one of the lines had in fact matched five numbers, which would earn a prize of £1,000.

When he returned to Moores Convenience Store in Mackenzie Way he was told by Pervais to return in a couple of hours so he could check the shop for the ticket.

In the meantime, Mr Crosier checked the numbers again and realised that in fact the bonus ball on that line had also been matched, triggering a near-£80,000 windfall.

Image caption The syndicate from Morrisons Utility Services, in Chatham, won a total of £78,887 last May

He went back to tell Pervais and demanded to be shown the ticket, but was given a number of bin bags to search through before being invited to look behind the counter.

Police said some wooden plinths had been removed from the back of the counter, revealing a number of pink winning slips and a screwed-up lottery ticket - with the victim's winning line.

An investigation by Camelot found that all four tickets had been scanned, including the one with the winning prize, leading to the arrest of Pervais, who was convicted of fraud by false representation..

In a statement, it said allegations made against retailers selling lottery tickets were "very rare".

"We have stringent operations in place to prevent and detect fraud and to monitor suspicious activity, and where we believe unlawful activity has taken place, we will not hesitate to work with the appropriate enforcement body," it said.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Crosier told BBC South East: "I was gutted because I was in charge of it [the syndicate], so I'd felt like I'd let everyone down, and also that I'd put trust in someone and they attempted to rob me."

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