MONTHS on end languishing in a foreign prison “felt like living in a third world country”, a Westcliff man has revealed after being acquitted.

Lakhbir Sandhu, 43, has returned home after being acquitted of tax evasion and laundering millions of Euros in the Czech Republic.

He was arrested in January 2019 but not officially charged until a year later.

In August, he was allowed to return home for the first time before standing trial last month.

After the judge sifted through 45,000 pages of evidence, Mr Sandhu was acquitted on both counts on Thursday.

Speaking to the Echo about his experience, Mr Sandhu said: “The guards rule it with an iron fist. There are no rights for prisoners too.

“You get to shower twice a week, but there were two showers working and ten people for five minutes.

“I was locked up for 23 hours a day for the first eight months, the room was eight foot by five foot with two people in there.”

His family sent him books to keep him occupied.

He said: “I read about 300 books. I was quite fortunate and I felt really sorry for them [other prisoners].

“You don’t have electricity in the room, the light switch is outside, and no hot water.

“When I first got released it was quite surreal.

“Mentally I was prepared for eight years and to be let out by the same judge who said that, it was just shocking.

“It took a lot of time to get re-adjusted, and having a shower by myself again.”

Mr Sandhu, who lost 20 kilos during his time in prison, is now living with his sister in Westcliff, and looking to rebuild his life.

Southend West MP Sir David Amess, who visited him in prison, said: “I could not be more pleased that justice has prevailed. Lakhbir has been completely exonerated and received an apology.

“Having visited him in confinement in February I can only begin to imagine just how he and his family have suffered for something which he was entirely innocent of.

“Lakhbir’s parents have suffered terribly. I am so sorry for them, and it will take time to heal. I would like to thank the British Ambassador in the Czech Republic for his help throughout this crisis, and the absolutely outstanding legal team that Lakhbir had. This at least is one bit of good news during the coronavirus pandemic.”