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Lottery chiefs issue theft alert

Contestants picked out of the drum on Saturday nights to appear on the National Lottery's Winning Streak show will now be warned about security of their homes.

The move by National Lottery bosses to warn lucky winners not to leave their homes unattended when they make the trip up to Dublin to appear on the show follows a sinister robbery and vandalism at the home of a contestant.

Mother-of-four Susan Bransfield, 48, from Longford, won €50,000 on RTE's Winning Streak show but when she returned home with her cheque she discovered that her house had been ransacked and burgled while she was in Dublin.

Ms Bransfield said that her children's christmas gifts -- including a TV and an iPod -- were stolen.

The dance instructor thinks her home was targeted because it would be known she would be in Dublin for the show, and she has now urged RTE to consider advising future contestants to make sure their homes are protected while they are in Montrose.

A spokeswoman for the National Lottery pointed out that full addresses are not read out or shown on air during the draw to select the contestants for the show.

"However, we will be warning contestants about security of their home while they are away in Dublin. People should take the same precautions that most people now take when they are attending a family wedding or funeral," she added.

Ms Bransfield is firmly convinced the thieves robbed her home after they spotted her name and address being announced on the show.

She says her two youngest children, Shannon, 15, and Conor, 10, have been left fearful as a result of the raid.

"They won't stay in the house now on their own. I have tried, but how do you tell a 10-year-old they (the raiders) won't come back?" she asked.

Sunday Independent