Poetic justice: Mum funnels £100 into claw machine to win single Dumbo teddy for her kid

Complains attraction was rigged

We'd do anything for the fruit of our loins – like buying them not one, but two train sets at Pecorama and almost instantly regretting it – but a doting mum from Folkestone, Kent, has really taken the biscuit after shoving a hundred quid into an allegedly rigged claw machine.

Cheryl Holden, 34, was holidaying at that Great British mainstay of Camber Sands in East Sussex last month, KentLive reports, with her partner and five-month-old tot Ashton.

Everything was going great, she said, until she decided to take a flutter on the claw machine and win a plushy for her young'un.

Tempted by the "four goes for £1" hook – great odds, right? – Holden was miffed to find wee Ashton still empty-handed after spending "between £35 and £40".

At this point, maybe even long before, we'd expect most people to have walked away. Instead, Holden complained to a staff member who she claimed opened the machine and "changed the setting".

A solitary £1 coin later, and Ashton was the proud owner of a new teddy. That the toy fished out was Dumbo is not lost on The Register. Nor that at five months, the little lad would probably bat at the thing a handful of times then look for stimulation elsewhere.

Victorious, the mum was then appalled to see the staffer change the setting back.

Holden said she flushed another £60 over the next couple of days, winning precisely nothing.

Most people safely assume that not just claw machines, but entire arcade attractions from shooting galleries to those 2p coin pushers are heavily rigged.

An investigation by The Sun suggests that claw machines are "set to randomly grip harder at certain times" – and goes on to explain how most of these games are designed for you to lose.

The parent told the local paper: "My son is five months old, but if he was old enough, he would probably be upset." (He'd probably also be terribly embarrassed.)

Playnation, which operates that arcade, is investigating the issue after management brushed off Holden's complaint.

The firm's people and social responsibility director told the news website they couldn't yet comment on her claims, but added: "Please be advised that Playnation Limited is a professional organisation which takes all customer complaints seriously.

"We operate in a highly regulated sector and are licensed by the Gambling Commission and the Local Authority to do so we take our licence obligations very seriously."

If you think you might have a gambling problem, you can get some help here. ®

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