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Syndicate scoop £50k Bond's win

PUBLISHED: 15:33 20 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

A SYNDICATE of nine Suffolk men has won a super 50,000 Premium Bond prize.

And The Evening Star understands that all the winners - who will receive £5,555 each - work in Ipswich.

A SYNDICATE of nine Suffolk men has won a super 50,000 Premium Bond prize.

And The Evening Star understands that all the winners – who will receive £5,555 each – work in Ipswich.

The winning bond, in a total holding of under £1,000, was selected by ERNIE (Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment) in this month's draw.

It is believed that the syndicate has held the Premium Bonds for a few years and this win was their first.

The Premium Bond scheme was started on June 1, 1957, by the then postmaster general, Ernest Marples.

Bonds could be bought for £1 each and the prizes went up to £1,000. Although each bond is still the same value the minimum holding is a block of 100, after this £10 blocks can be bought up to a £20,000 maximum.

Premium Bonds are run by National Savings and based in Blackpool, where ERNIE selects £1 bond numbers at random to win around 690,000 prizes totalling around £49 million.

There is one of £1 million each month, eight of £100,000, 16 of £50,000, 32 of £25,000, 80 of £10,000, 161 of £5,000. There are also £1,000, £500, £100 and £50 prizes.

Almost £11 billion is invested in Premium Bonds, £35.4 million of that is in the Ipswich post code area.

A spokeswoman from National Savings, said: "Sales began booming shortly after we launched the £1 million prize in April 1995.

A one in 19,000 chance of winning on ERNIE is better odds than winning the National Lottery and you do not lose your investment."

All prizes are tax free and although there is no interest paid on bonds, there is no chance of losing your stake either.

n Since Premium Bonds started there has been three ERNIE machines, the first one was capable of selecting 2,000 numbers in an hour. It measured 30ft long by 3ft wide.

ERNIE Mark 2, was in use from 1973 until 1988. A nimbler version than its predecessor, it was 3ft square and could churn out around 65,000 numbers an hour.

The current ERNIE is about the same size as machine number two but it can draw around 333,000 numbers and hour.

All the numbers generated are printed on tape and stored on computer.

n It is estimated that there are more than 282,000 unclaimed prizes valued at around £17,000,000.

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