Woman’s £18m jackpot-winning lottery ticket ‘destroyed in washing machine’

A woman has claimed her jackpot-winning lottery ticket was destroyed in the wash.

The as yet unidentified woman reportedly said she had accidentally put her winning SuperLotto Plus ticket – worth a staggering $26 million (£18.4m) – in her trouser pocket.

She claims she didn't remember to take it out before putting it in the washing machine with the rest of her laundry, ruining the paper ticket.

Lottery officials revealed the jackpot ticket from the draw in November last year had been bought at an Arco AM/PM convenience store in Norwalk, Los Angeles in the US.

The deadline to redeem it was last Thursday.

A store worker told local media the woman visited the store the day before the deadline and told staff what had happened.

The store's manager said CCTV footage showed the unlucky 'winner' buying her ticket – and that she is known to employees.

A copy of the clip has been handed to California Lottery officials, the manager added.

Under lottery rules, anyone who believes they are a winner must complete a claim form or provide evidence they owned the ticket, such as photograph of the back of it.

The winning numbers were 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, with the "mega number" being 10.

The $26m prize is offered in annual instalments – or winners can request $19.7m (£14m) in cash.

If it isn’t claimed, the cash prize will be donated to schools across California.

The store where the tickets was bought will also receive a $130,000 (£92,000) bonus.

Unclaimed jackpots are rare, according to lottery officials. Just four prizes worth at least $20m (£14.2m) have gone unclaimed since 1997.

The largest jackpot never to be claimed was $63m (£45m) in 2015, lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told the Los Angeles Times.

According to the National Lottery in the UK, there have been seven unclaimed Euromillions prizes totalling a whopping £5.25m so far this year, including five worth £1m each.

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