The Court of Appeal in London has made a landmark ruling which could threaten thousands of Britons who have invested in property in the North of Cyprus.
The Court supported an appeal by Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides against British couple Linda and David Orams of Hove, Sussex.
Like thousands of Greek Cypriots, Apostolides fled his home when Turkish troops invaded in 1974, after the short-lived coup organised by the military junta that ruled Greece at the time.
More than 20 years later, the Orams bought a plot of land and built a holiday home in Northern Cyprus. In November 2004 Apostolides took the Orams to court in Sopthern Cyprus, claiming he was the rightful owner of the land. That Court upheld his claim.
The Orams appealed but the European Court of Justice also upheld his claim in 2009. They appealed again and the case was heard in London. The latest - and final - ruling requires the Orams to comply with the original judgement in Nicosia, to demolish their property and return the land to Apostolides. They were also ordered to pay him damages and monthly rent until he regains his property.
"It's very disappointing," said Mrs Orams. "Obviously it's a blow to us, but we're not going to let it ruin our lives. We're strong, we've dealt with this for over five years now." She added: "The rulings will be a source of concern to many other property owners in (northern] Cyprus."
Apostolides, a British-trained architect, said he was "thrilled" by the ruling. It's estimated that some 1,400 Britons are living in homes built on property claimed by Greek Cypriot refugees. But British and Greek Cypriot officials in Nicosia estimate there are up to 5,000 Britons living on land in the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state in northern Cyprus whose original title deeds are held by displaced Greek Cypriots.