The Criminal Assets Bureau has seized two houses worth over €600,000 from a south Armagh man. The High Court is satisfied he is a prolific cross border smuggler.

Patrick Belton, 61, moved from Crossmaglen to Co Monaghan after customs in Northern Ireland began investigating him in 2003.

Today CAB was granted an order to seize his home at Magoney, Iniskeen, Co Monaghan and another house at The Meadows in Dundalk, Co Louth.

He previously settled with the Assets Recovery Agency in Northern Ireland, paying them £140,000.

The head of the Criminal Assets Bureau told the High Court that he believed Mr Belton smuggled oil across the border for at least seven years.

During that time he apparently delivered the oil to various petrol stations on both sides of the border, and also leased two garages in Galway.

The High Court was told that he operated an oil business entirely outside the regulatory process and failed to comply with legal obligations on both sides of the border.

Mr Justice Kevin Feeney said the court was satisfied that the evidence produced showed that CAB had reasonable grounds for believing Patrick Belton a prolific smuggler and it granted the Bureau the order enabling it to seize his two houses.

Mr Belton is the first cross border oil smuggler to be targeted by CAB.