An unlucky punter is frantically searching for a lottery ticket he left in the pub – after finding out it was worth $39,000.
Out-of-work cruise ship entertainer Leonardo Ventimiglia left it on a bar table during a drinking session with pals in Genoa, Italy.
His heart sank when his excited mum called saying she had checked the numbers and he had scooped a prize of 25,000 euros ($A39,000).
He had discarded the ticket after realising he had not won a five million euro ($A8 million) top prize or any of the lower prizes down to 50,000 euros ($A80,000) in the annual Lotteria Italia.
However his mum had noted the serial number, and phoned him with the good news after checking it against the full results.
Leonardo began desperately searching everywhere he had been and made his friends look in the boots of their cars.
Finally he remembered he last had it on the bar table to check if he’d won during an afternoon drinking session.
He raced back to the pub — where staff told him they had thrown it in the bin two days earlier on January 7.
Leonardo said he “dived into the bins” looking for the ticket.
But he was told the rubbish had already been collected and was on the way to landfill.
Leonardo told local media: “You can’t understand how I felt.
“I think my mother, if she could, would have smashed my face in.”
Luckily he was able to shrug off his misfortune, despite being unemployed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “In this terrible year, where due to the pandemic I found myself without work and without social safety nets, that money would have really helped us.
“For once it wouldn’t have rained in the wet, as they say.”
His mother had bought a five euro ticket ($A8) for each of his family members as part of a New Year tradition.
She took note of the serial numbers so she could check for any winners after the January 6 draw.
“It would have been better if she hadn’t,” Leonardo admitted.
However he has not given up all hope of finding the ticket and claiming his prize.
He has filed a report with the Carabinieri national police in case it is handed in.
No one else will be able to pocket the winnings if they find the lost ticket.
And there is a legal precedent in the Supreme Court that means he might be able to claim the money if he can prove he had it, reports Genoa 24.
This story was originally published in The Sun and was reproduced here with permission