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Dad-of-eight won £4m on slots but can still claim benefits

Golden slot: Thomas Roche and his wife Shelley hit the jackpot online PICTURES: SWNS

A JOBLESS father-of-eight who scooped nearly £4million on an online slot machine is still claiming benefits.

Thomas Roche, 30, spent £58 on Bet365’s £2-a-go Reel King Slot during his first go on the website in October and hit the jackpot, winning £3.75million.

The former traveller and his wife Shelley, 30, phoned HMRC to declare the tax-free cash, assuming it would stop them from receiving all their £3,000-a-month benefits.

Moving up: The family are swapping their three-bedroom council house in Eltham for a six-bedroom house with stables and land in Kent

But while their housing benefit and income support were stopped, they will continue to receive child benefit and child tax credits. They will also get disability benefits for their 12-year-old son who has ADHD, their ten-year-old autistic daughter and their eight-year-old son, who has hyperactivity disorder.

Ms Roche said: ‘We rang HMRC. We rang all the benefit offices. The only thing which did stop is income support.

‘Obviously it’s child benefit and child tax credit, so it’s for the kids. I tried to stop it but they said it’s for your children. They said you don’t have to stop child tax credit because it’s for the children.

‘My housing benefit has stopped. We’re doing everything right and above board.’

Since their win the pair have splashed out on a six-bedroom house with stables and four acres of land in Dover, Kent as well as five cars and a quad bike.

They are set to leave their three- bedroom council house in Eltham, south-east London next week.

Mr Roche, who refused to say how much he now gets in benefits, said: ‘We were new to the slots. It was about 1:30am we got on there — obviously we had kids to sort and stuff. Next minute you know, we’ve become millionaires.

‘I’ve barred myself from going back on Bet365 already. We’re going to declutter this house and give it back to the council. Then I’m going to invest in houses and rent them back to the council.’