A man battling for the return of £500,000 confiscated by police cannot have his money back, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Mark Fay, a citizen of the Irish Republic, left three items of luggage with Group 4 Security in Luton, Bedfordshire, in July 1993, telling staff they contained his parents' mortgage documents.
Suspicious security men inspected the bags and found £390,790 in used Bank of England and Bank of Scotland notes.
Group 4 contacted police who were waiting for Mr Fay when he returned six weeks later to collect the luggage.
He refused to answer questions about the cash and police suspected him of money-laundering, but decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
Asked for money back
Mr Fay, who lives near Dublin, was told he would not be charged, but when he asked for his money back, police refused.
In May 1994, Mr Fay launched a court action in Luton demanding police return the bags which he claimed contained £421,000 from a deal in which he was paid in cash for cattle hides.
Nothing came of the action and he returned to the Irish Republic .
When the police applied to the courts to have the matter struck out because the time limit had expired for court action, Mr Fay went to court again.
Police took the case to the Appeal Court after a High Court judge reinstated Mr Fay's claim.
On Wednesday, Appeal Court judges ruled the action should be struck out and police be given permission to dispose of the money, which now with interest, amounts to about £500,000.
Lord Justice Thomas said the delay was "inordinate and inexcusable" but Mr Fay was not willing to give police answers to legitimate questions so he allowed their petition.