Irish man spent bet winnings on huge amount of cigs which he tried to hide from customs

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The cigarettes were seized at Dublin Airport
The cigarettes were seized at Dublin Airport

A DONEGAL man, who tried to save money by spending his winnings from a bet on cheap cigarettes in Spain, has been has been hit with a €2,500 fine.

Adrian McMonagle (40) from Whitehall, Muff, Donegal, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Finance Act for evasion of duty on 12,000 cigarettes which were seized at Dublin Airport on March 5 last year.

Judge John O'Neill heard at Dublin District Court that he was stopped at the green channel at Terminal 1, after he flew back from Barcelona in Spain.

Customs officers found in his luggage 12,000 John Player blue cigarettes which had Spanish tax stamps. He revealed that he had bought them from €2,400.

He told customs officials they were for himself and for a brother and he was not going to receive payment.

The loss of revenue to the State was €3,600, Judge O'Neill heard.

Judge O'Neill noted that the father-of-four had a good work history but has been on disability allowance since 2003 as a result of health problems.

He had no prior criminal convictions and was in difficult financial circumstances, his solicitor said, adding that his client and did it to save money and was not planning to sell them.

He used money he won on a bet to buy them, the court was told.

The district court can impose a fine of up to €5,000 as well as a 12-month sentence for the offence.

Judge O'Neill said he took into account the guilty plea and lack of previous criminal convictions. He remitted the fine to €2,500 which must be paid within four months.