Thieves raid pounds 20m lottery winner's home

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The Independent Online
LIZ SEARL

Thieves broke into the home of Terry and Brenda Benson, the pounds 20m winners of the National Lottery, in what police say could have been an attempt to steal the family's winning ticket.

The Benson family was celebrating the win in London when burglars broke in through the patio doors of their home in Hull, and searched the property. When they returned yesterday afternoon, Mr Benson, 61, and his 56-year- old wife discovered that the thieves had stolen jewellery of sentimental value.

Mr Benson has offered a reward for the safe return of the jewellery including a pearl necklace he bought his wife for their 30th wedding anniversary. An identity bracelet which belonged to Mrs Benson's late mother was also stolen.

Mr Benson said: "These people are just low-life. I would call them animals but animals are better than that. Animals are nice. The burglary could have happened any time to anyone - rich and poor - but to come back to this is just horrendous."

Neighbours who had been aware of two strangers in the street late on Monday night did not call police because they assumed the men were reporters. Police believe that some householders may have disturbed the thieves by switching on lights in their homes when they heard the thieves at about 2am yesterday.

Speaking about the impact of the win and the family's immediate plans, Mr Benson said: "It all really has not sunk in yet. We're not thinking of this as an amount of money, we just know it is a lot and we also know it will change our lives. Obviously I will be going to see the lads at work but I don't think we'll be going to the ex-servicemen's club this Saturday. I think it will be a quiet night in."

The family formed an occasional syndicate, paying pounds 12 for lottery tickets whenever they got together. Terry Benson came up with the winning line by noting down numbers on cranes at the foundry where he works.

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