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County Armagh man caught with 20,000 cigarettes avoids jail in Cork

A county Armagh who was caught with 20,000 cigarettes and 240 packets of loose tobacco in Cork avoided jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Francis McGale, 47, of Crossmore Green, Keady, pleaded guilty to the crime on Monday. He had obtained the goods without payment of excise duty.

He was given a one-year suspended jail sentence and banned from driving in the Republic of Ireland for 12 months.

The Irish Examiner reported McGale had brought €3,000 to court as a charitable donation.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin directed the payment of the €3,000 to Marymount Hospice.

Cork Central Criminal Court

Cork Central Criminal Court

The judge explained he had remanded the accused in custody on Monday because of what he described as a totally unrealistic attitude to the case.

Det Garda Niall Hayes said customs and excise officers became aware of a vehicle travelling to Cork, possibly with a large quantity of cigarettes.

The value of the tobacco products totalled €16,850. The potential loss of revenue to the state was over €13,000.

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