Thousands of Preston shoppers driven crackers by codes

Thousands of shoppers from across Lancashire and beyond tried their hand at a quirky competition in the hopes of winning £10,000.

Sunday, 11th December 2016, 12:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:32 pm
Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000.
Stephen Burke attempts to crack the code.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
10-12-2016
Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000. Stephen Burke attempts to crack the code. PIC BY ROB LOCK 10-12-2016

The cash reward was locked away in a strongbox in Preston’s Flag Market, ready to be won by anybody who could figure out the six-digit code to open it.

Organisers had hoped to make someone’s Christmas wishes come true but, despite 3,000 attempts over the course of the day, nobody scooped the jackpot.

However, bosses at the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) saw dozens of spot-prizes given away, gifting winners treats from eateries, shops and organisations across Preston.

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Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000. Isla and Lewis Taylor watch dad Chris in action, which resulted in a runners-up prize of a month's free journeys with South Ribble Travel. PIC BY ROB LOCK 10-12-2016

BID’s manager Mark Whittle said prizes included pantomime tickets, afternoon tea, meals and cosmetics, donated by city-centre businesses and won over the 12-hour contest.

He said it was a shame nobody had managed to hit the jackpot, but said spirits were high throughout the day.

He said: “I was pleasantly surprised because it’s a lot of money and sometimes people think it’s too good to be true.

“But every single person said you’ve got to be in it to win it and everyone was smiling. I was told someone had come all the way from Barrow to have a go.

Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000. City Centre BID Manager Mark Whittle helps to key in a code. PIC BY ROB LOCK 10-12-2016

“Some of the numbers were really well thought-out, people were really putting thought into what they could be.”

The contest ran from 11am to 11pm on Saturday, with about 3,000 attempts throughout the day.

Mark said: “From our point of view, it was a case of hopefully you’re coming to Preston anyway, here’s an opportunity for us to hopefully make your Christmas a bit more special.

“The business prizes gave us a chance to talk about them, and it also might encourage more regular custom.

Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000. Isla and Lewis Taylor watch dad Chris in action, which resulted in a runners-up prize of a month's free journeys with South Ribble Travel. PIC BY ROB LOCK 10-12-2016

“Everybody that I saw across that day, and watching the mood, everyone was just happy. And businesses who had donated were pleased, because it meant we could talk about them.”

Mark revealed there may be another chance for visitors to have a try at winning the top prize.

He said: “Because of the success, we’ll be returning it.

“We will probably bring it back in the summer - something similar - and hopefully someone will be a bit more lucky.”

Preston shoppers had the chance of a bumper Christmas by attempting to crack the code of the 'City Safe' containing £10,000. City Centre BID Manager Mark Whittle helps to key in a code. PIC BY ROB LOCK 10-12-2016

The City Safe promotion was the idea of Preston’s BID and the Preston At Night group, as part of the city’s build-up to Christmas.