THREE men involved in a daring £1m cigarette raid on a warehouse in Southampton Docks will only have to pay a fraction of the money back – for now.

The trio were members of a gang who drove a stolen lorry to the docks to collect a haul of 300,000 packets of American Legend cigarettes just one hour before the real truck turned up to collect them.

Four people were convicted after a lengthy trial at the city crown court of conspiring to steal 600 cases of cigarettes from Macintyre and Co warehouse in Western Docks.

However a police financial investigation was then launched, using the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), to attempt to recover some of their ill-gotten gains.

But while the amount they repay now might be low because they don’t have significant assets, the gang could be liable to repay their crime for years to come if they are ever deemed to be living a luxury life when they leave prison.

Jurors heard Robert Foulger, 47, was the inside man on the heist who worked for a haulage company and passed on information to ringleader Andrew Badland who shadowed the real lorry from its overnight stay in Kent to ensure it did not arrive in Southampton before the gang, from Kent and Essex, were able to drive the load away.

The cigarettes and the bogus lorry have never been recovered.

Badland was jailed for seven years, while Kevin Burgess, 44, and Robert Foulger, 47, got five years.

A fourth defendant, Mark Juniper, 31, received a 12-month suspended sentence with 300 hours community service after admitting handling stolen goods and promising to pay the lorry owner £3,000.

At the POCA hearing Badlands and Foulger were said to have benefitted by almost £780,000.

The court heard that Badlands could only pay £4,500 and he was given 28 days to pay.

Foulger had £5,000 of recoverable assets and money and was told he would serve an extra week if he did not pay up within 14 days.

Juniper was said to have benefitted by £28,000 from the scam. With almost £1,900 available, he was given 28 days to pay up or serve an extra 45 days behind bars.

Judge Gary Burrell QC reserved judgement on Burgess.

The prosecution claimed he had benefitted by £750,000.

He claimed he had only £670 and had only been paid £500 for his role.