A PAIR of competition organisers who raffled a tractor on social media were left red-faced after bungling the draw in spectacular fashion.
Barry Conlon and Owen Patrick Mullan, both from Armagh, run the Agri Competitions page on Facebook and attempted to raffle a Fiat 100-90 tractor, worth up to £18,000, on the social media platform on June 26.
During a farcical live-stream the pair used a laptop and an iPad to conduct a prize-draw as eager punters watched on, only for two winning numbers to be announced.
Chaos and calamity ensued when the number 164 was called out despite number 185 being visible on screen.
During the footage, the narrator goes on to congratulate the holder of ticket 185, a Josh Wainwright, before saying they had been contacted to say a different number had appeared during the draw.
Only the number 185 is visible on screen up to that point and, once the error is realised, gasps and whispering can be heard, with one voice exclaiming, "Cancel and do it again".
The Facebook post of the disastrous draw attracted over 70,000 views and over 1,300 comments with a mixture of opinions on the debacle.
Following the farce, Barry Conlon and Owen Patrick Mullan denied "in the strongest terms" any impropriety and said they had contacted Mr Wainwright to offer him £200 by way of compensation for the mistake.
In a statement on their Facebook page Mr Conlon and Mr Mullan said they they had received threats to themselves and members of their families when some people jumped to wrong conclusions about the draw mix-up.
In a statement from their solicitors in London, Mr Conlon and Mr Mullan said the mix-up was an honest mistake and Mr Wainwright had been contacted and compensated.
They added: "As is standard practice, the draw took place live on Facebook using a number generator operated by Google.
"The broadcast on Facebook was screened via an iPad. This was linked to a laptop operated by Mr Mullan.
"He ran the Google number generator and read out the number displayed on the laptop. Unfortunately, he then realised that the iPad showed a different number, indicating a computer malfunction, which meant the draw needed to be called off.
"Minutes later, the draw was re-run successfully with another number picked at random.
"Our clients are investigating how this technical error occurred.
"Almost immediately after it was realised that the wrong number had been called out, Mr Mullan contacted the person who believed he had won, explained the situation and offered him £200 as a goodwill gesture.
"The proceeds of the draw have gone to charity, as originally intended, and no monies have been retained by our clients. The tractor will be sent to the correct winner of the second draw."
The winner of the second draw was announced as a Mr Paul Holland, from Co Galway, on the Agri Competitions Facebook page on June 26.
Following inquiries made by Sunday Life, Mr Conlon and Mr Mullan provided, through their legal representatives, a photo of Mr Holland with his prize and receipts which they said proved they had donated £12,500 to charity after the draw. The picture was also post on the Agri-competitions website.
They also provided detailed explanation as to the issue with the software, which they said had been issued by a US developer. This information was later published on their Facebook page alongside an explanation of the events in a post entitled "putting the record straight".
Mr Conlon and Mr Mullan said: "Paul (Holland) was presented with the tractor and was delighted with its condition and is already putting it to good use."