Truth may come out in the wash as Lottery bosses seek £33m ticket holder
Lottery bosses hunting the winner of a £33 million jackpot have received hundreds of claims of lost, damaged or stolen tickets.
Camelot refused to comment directly on any of the unverified claims, including one from a grandmother said to have put a ticket bearing the winning numbers through the wash.
Susanne Hinte, 48, from Worcester, reportedly made contact with Camelot's winners' advisors on Friday after it was confirmed the winning ticket for the January 9 draw was sold in the city.
Ms Hinte's daughter, Natasha Douglas, told the Worcester News that her mother - whose ticket no longer has a readable date or barcode - had already received begging letters after media coverage of her claim.
In its latest statement on the outstanding half-share of its record £66million Lotto jackpot, Camelot said: "We have the discretion to pay prizes in respect of stolen, lost or destroyed National Lottery tickets only if the player has submitted a claim in writing within 30 days of the relevant draw.
"If the player can provide sufficient evidence, we will investigate and consider the validity of the claim.
"Given the interest in the missing £33 million ticket-holder, we have received hundreds of claims of this nature.
"All of these are currently being considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will follow up with all claimants directly to advise them whether their claim will be investigated further."
A Camelot spokesman declined to comment on whether the number of claims was in the high or low hundreds, but said their volume meant the evaluation process would take time.
The spokesman added: "We have not released details of the shop where the ticket was bought and no retailer would have been informed that they have sold the winning ticket.
"We still would urge all players to check their tickets and contact us if they think they have the winning one."
Shopkeeper Natu Patel, who helped Ms Hinte to submit a claim after she went to his store in the Warndon area, said the hunt for the winning ticket had created a "genuine buzz" across Worcester.
Responding to news that so many other people have also come forward with claims, he said: "We'll just have to sit back and wait to see what happens."