A syndicate of cabbies is celebrating a bumper fare after scooping £144,222 on the National Lottery.

People in Littlehampton struggled to find taxis yesterday as the nine drivers went to collect their winnings.

The team won the cash in the lottery draw on Saturday by matching five numbers and the bonus ball.

Camelot laid on a champagne celebration for the drivers who partied outside Wick Newsagents in Littlehampton where they bought the winning ticket.

All of the men work, or have been employed in the past, by Littlehampton-based company Chauffeur Taxis.

Syndicate leader John Stone, 58, was at home with his wife Jean on Saturday night when he discovered the syndicate members had exceeded their previous best win of £80.

He said: "I couldn't believe it. I was sitting at home with my wife but it wasn't until late evening that we decided to check the ticket to see how we had fared.

"I asked Jean to check the numbers again just to make sure that I hadn't imagined it all.

"I didn't sleep that night and I still can't now."

John said when he broke the news to the rest of the syndicate, the members were "absolutely amazed".

He said: "The win has come at a really good time and it will make a great difference to our lives but we all intend to spend our money wisely."

Syndicate member Bill Scutt, 69, who is now retired from driving taxis, said he was pleased he had carried on paying £2 a week towards the lottery ticket.

He said: "I think my share is going on improvements.

"My wife wants a new cooker and the double glazing needs upgrading."

The other lucky winners were Alan Russell, Robert Taylor, Maurice Martin, Ahmet Aziz and David Balchin.

They are planning holidays, home improvements and celebration meals with their families.

Two of the winners did not want any publicity.