A Chinese woman found a rare way to light a wood-burning stove without saving money on heating costs when she used £20,000 in cash as kindling.
Hao Bin, aged 35, hid the cash in the stove after her husband Wang, aged 39, brought it home to pay his workers at the end of a major construction project.
But she got up the following morning and threw paper and a lit match into the stove after forgetting the money was in there.
The cash was instantly set alight. Hao returned shortly afterwards to add wood to the stove and only at that point spotted the plastic bag containing the money.
She tried to extinguish the fire and salvage the money, but most of it had already been destroyed.
Fortunately her husband was in a forgiving mood.
He said: “It was a hard blow, and my wife is devastated. But I have forgiven her, and we will survive.
“We had not been paid ourselves yet for our work, but I needed to pay the workers so we borrowed the money from friends and family, and we wanted somewhere to keep it safe for a day before paying it out.”
Hao took the money to their local bank in Shaoshan, Hunan province, but was told she could not exchange the banknotes for new ones in the cases where less than half of the existing banknote remains.