Bookie pays out £3000 after taking pity on OAP for coupon mistake - Monday 12th of January 2009

A BIG-HEARTED bookie has paid out £3000 to a pensioner who bungled his betting slip.

The 65-year-old has placed an identical fixed-odds coupon for 10 years with betting shop boss Paul Hepburn.

But when the elderly punter slipped up, Paul realised he would have won with his usual coupon - and handed over the cash.

Last night the pensioner, who does not want to be named, said: "At first, I thought it was a wind-up, then I realised he was genuine. It was a great present."

Paul, manager of Bet H&H in Paisley, Renfrewshire, noticed the mistake when he recognised the mans handwriting as he checked through coupons.

Paul said: "He deserved a break and I was happy to provide it.

"He is a great guy and, without going into detail, has had a rough ride in life lately.

"Times are tough, all businesses have been affected by the credit crunch, but you still have to have some morals over the way you run your business.

"I do what I can for my regulars - and Im happy the start of 2009 will be made a little easier for him."

The lucky punter praised Paul as "one in a million" and said: "I put my football coupon on every Saturday and have done for the last 10 years.

"But for some reason, this time I got it completely wrong.

"Paul knows the type of bet I put on and after recognising my handwriting, called me into his office for a chat.

"I didnt know what was coming but was absolutely thrilled to be told my coupon, as it should have been, had come up and that I was due almost £3000.

"Ive been punting for 25 years and Ive never won that amount in my life. This is a fantastic new year gift."

And the pensioner, from Paisley, admitted luck has been on his side since the cash windfall.

He said: "Ive managed to get a few more bets up since Paul paid out the big one.

"I felt a bit guilty going up to the collect counter but he just smiled.

"I know for a fact I wouldnt have been paid out had I put the coupon on at one of the big betting shops.

"They definitely lack the personal touch."

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