Jun 22 2012 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Friday
EMBARRASSED SNP bosses are being forced to draw their scooter raffle that never was.
Officials from the council’s licensing team stepped in yesterday to order the party to announce a winner for the £1,000 bike.
The scandal was exposed in the Standard last month after SNP members in Dumfries admitted taking money off punters for the raffle but never announcing a winner.
The tickets were sold in a tent at Dumfries Agricultural Show last August with a draw date set for January 25 this year – Burns Night.
But it was so unpopular that only 60 people bought tickets ... so party officials kept the draw quiet as they didn’t raise enough cash to cover the cost of buying the bike.
Police are currently investigating the matter.
A spokesman for the council’s licensing team said: “Representatives met with Mrs June Witts, the promoter for SNP Dumfries Constituency, to discuss the options to rectify the failure to hold the draw for a scooter, training and other prizes on Burns Night 2012.
“As Small Society Lotteries are defined in the Gambling Act 2005, the council’s licensing team has also discussed the issues identified with the Gambling Commission.
“The SNP Dumfries constituency proposes that the draw should be made to complete the lottery.
“Only those who purchased the 60 tickets sold will be eligible for the draw.
“The SNP proposes to honour fully the details of the raffle tickets – ‘Generic Epico 50cc Scooter RRP £1,099 on the road and free training … and many other prizes’.
“Our council’s licensing team is to contact the raffle ticket holders soon to make sure that these proposals are acceptable to them.
“Any ticket holder found to be under 16 years of age will be reimbursed their stake money.
“Arrangements will then be put in place to make the draw and complete the lottery.”
The SNP’s Dumfries branch convener Alistair Witts – husband of the raffle’s promoter, June Witts – yesterday refused to comment.
The party has come under fire from Labour.
Their leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said: “This was a shameful attempt by the SNP to con local people by taking their cash and then pocketing the money without holding the raffle.
“It is only right that the licensing team has told them the draw must take place because the SNP can’t get away with these dodgy dealings.
“However, I think local people will be surprised that no action appears to be being taken against those responsible despite it appearing that the law may have been broken.
“The SNP clearly had no intention of holding this raffle until they were exposed in the Standard for failing to do so and yet no one seems to be being held to account.”
Mr Nicholson also called for the SNP’s small lotteries licence to be suspended.