A small stakes punter was left fuming after a betting giant barred him when his £1 each way bet came in.

Photographer Stuart Boulton was raising a glass when Pinot Rouge won at 20/1 to round off a memorable first day of internet punting.

But horse savvy snapper Stu, who finished £30 up on the day, was then promptly banned by Bet365 whose founder and Chief Executive Denise Coates raked in £271m last year.The Northern Echo: Photographer Stuart Boulton

“I only opened the account because it was raining and I didn’t want to get wet walking to the bookies,” said Stu, 59, from Darlington.

With the Cheltenham Festival next week, Stu thought he’d take advantage of Bet365’s offer which gives new clients £30 in free bets once they deposit £10.

Once he’d opened the account Stu put on three bets and settled down in front of the telly to watch last Saturday’s racing from Kelso and Doncaster.

He bet £2 on Personal Ambition which won at 3/1, £1 each way on Pinot Rouge, which won at 20/1 and his third bet was a non-runner.

“I thought Pinot Rouge had a good jockey and some decent form – plus I don’t mind the odd drop of red wine. I was cheering him home from the settee and delighted when he held on. I only bet occasionally and for small stakes but it meant I’d made a £30 profit on the day which is probably my best ever result,” said Stu.

“Then the next morning I received an email from Bet365 saying they were closing my account immediately because of ‘the nature of my business’.”

Stu was told he could withdraw his £30 winnings but that he won’t get the free bet and his account will be closed. He was even more annoyed when he read up about Bet365, run by Ms Coates who is Britain’s richest woman.

“I read she makes £742,000 a day so I don’t think she’ll miss my £30 winnings. It’s a right faff setting up an account and I didn’t even get to use the free bets. It’s just been a waste of time.”

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Stu, who’s planning a trip to Sedgefield races next week, says he’ll be sticking to traditional bookmakers in future.

“At least you know where you are with them, they’re not going to ban me if my £1 bet comes in.”

Bet365 declined to comment but after they were contacted by media they emailed Stu to say they have reviewed the matter and his account will be re-opened.