BRIGHTON were rocking on Tuesday as they stormed 13 points clear at the top of League One – and Paddy Power have joined the party by paying out on them as champions.

Punters who backed them at prices up to 14-1 have been handed an early windfall by the Irish firm.

The decision will cost Paddy Power in the region of £70,000 for their championship and promotion settlements.

Paddy Power  said: “The champagne may only be on ice in Brighton but as far we were are concerned punters and Seagulls supporters alike can start popping the corks and collect their winnings.”

This their first payout of the 2010-11 season but Paddy Power have a reputation for doing so.

In 2005-06 the bookie correctly crowned Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea the champs as early as September after the London club raced into an unassailable lead. But he hasn’t always got it right.

In 2003 the firm settled early on Arsenal (with a 12-point lead) as Premiership winners at the start of March.

The Gunners surrendered their title with a 3-2 home defeat against Leeds in the penultimate game of the season to hand the title to Manchester United and costs the bookies an expensive double payout.

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