Derbyshire cigarette con man gets £272,000 'refund'

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A Derbyshire man who paid £278,000 in compensation for his part in a cigarette smuggling scam is to get most of his money back.

Colin Homer, 54, of Broadlanes, Sandiacre, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to evading duty at Leicester Crown Court in May 2004.

The Court of Appeal ruled he should be paid back £272,000 plus interest.

Homer argued he only received £6,000 in cash for his role in smuggling 600,000 cigarettes in 2003 in Leicestershire.

Three Court of Appeal judges said the order would have to be quashed.

Homer, who has paid the compensation in full, would be liable for only £6,000.

Under the earlier ruling, the court said Homer had criminally "benefited" from the duty evaded on all of the cigarettes.

He was sentenced for offences under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 including evasion of import duty and keeping dutiable goods.

Lord Justice Hooper, sitting in London with Mr Justice Stadlen and Mr Justice Sweeney, said Homer had pleaded guilty on the basis that he had not been involved in the actual smuggling.

Homer helped two other men distribute the illegal cigarettes but did not import them.

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