Numbers up for Lotto sales staff - Tuesday 3rd of February 2009

Workers at the National Lottery kiosk in The Bridges, Sunderland, were devastated when they were made redundant last month.

Hundreds of customers wanting tickets, scratchcards and friendly chat would flock to the National Lottery kiosk at the shopping centre.

But the plug was pulled after National Lottery operator Camelot said it had "serious concerns" about Cambridgeshire-based InfoPlace UK Ltd, which manages Lottery terminals across the country.

A second kiosk in The Galleries, Washington, was also closed down with more job losses.

Sunderland staff say for many older customers the kiosk was like a social event.

Julie Charlton, 41, from Hylton Castle, worked there for eight years.

"We had about 300 regular customers who we were on first name terms with. It was like a big family. They used to bring us sweets and gifts.

"I had one old man stop me in the street after we closed down and he was crying. We got a telephone call telling us what had happened and it felt like a death.

"Im lost. Ive had to go to the Jobcentre and sign on. All the girls are going to try and meet up once a month or every other month."

Judith Potts, 54, from Millfield, had worked at the Lottery kiosk since it opened 13 years ago.

"Breast Cancer was our charity and we sold our own charity scratchcards for brain injuries and childrens cancer charities.

"Infoplace raised £250million for good causes, £100million for the Treasury and £40million for Camelot.

"It was like a little community. Ill never get another job to match it."

A spokesman for Camelot said: "Camelot has, with regret, decided to suspend InfoPlace UK Ltd as a National Lottery retailer with immediate effect.

"As a result, InfoPlace UK Ltd will no longer be able to sell National Lottery products or process prize claims."

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