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I am a wagon driver and work in Europe during the week. I often bring back tobacco but have the chance of an alternative job in the next few months which means no more nights away from home. I therefore bought 9kgs of tobacco on the boat in the duty free shop. Paid with my debit card. I was stopped by Customs when coming off the boat. They wanted me to explain why I had that amount. I told them that it was for myself and my wife. After keeping me held up for about 3 hours they decided to seize the Tobacco and issued me with a Seizure Information Notice. I have submitted a Notice of Claim and I have been send a letter stating that Condemnation Proceedings will be issued shortly and I will be notified of a court date. Is there anything else I can do. I have read where people have requested the goods to be returned or they have appealed before it gets to court. Is there anything else I can do?

 

The woman in the duty free shop actually telephoned customs and informed them I had purchased the tobacco as she had been heard bragging about it to other people which makes me wonder if customs officials get bonuses like VAT and Tax Inspectors!

 

The Law clearly states that you can bring back as much as you want as long as it is for personal use. Just after this happened I went on holiday with my family and I was stopped by Customs. They asked if we had anything to declare we showed them the carrier bags we had purchased in duty free but they were only interested in our suitcases. They were scanned and there was nothing in them. We had not brought anything back in our suitcases. I am also wondering whether my passport has now been targeted?

Any one got any advice?

Thanks :)

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Sorry I can't help more but here's the official line on what to do in these cases.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/seized-goods.htm


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9kgs is an awful lot and even duty free must have cost a bit, so they may be thinking that it is a bit excessive for personal not just the amount but the cost as well. i assume it is for you to proove it is rather than HMRc to proove it isnt.


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9kgs isn't excessive given the circumstances and, in any event, the law clearly states that amount which can be brought back is unlimited. Customs had no reason to suspect that I was "smuggling" tobacco. It was purchased on the boat in full view of everyone. It would have been much cheaper for me to purchase it in a shop in Belgium.

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I thought that there were limits for duty free? As opposed to buying it cheaply (albeit tax paid at a low rate in a different country).


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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No the law states that the amount of alcohol and tobacco is unlimited as long as it is for personal use.

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The following products are classed as Duty Free items:

 

Cigarettes Tobacco Selected spirits

 

All other items are classed as Tax Free.

 

On July 1, 1999 changes to the Duty-Free and Tax-Free laws that apply to European Union countries came into effect. However, you can still buy a wide range of Duty and Tax-Free goods when you travel abroad.

 

If you are flying outside the European Union you are entitled to your full allowance of goods at Tax and Duty Free prices.

 

If you are flying within the European Union you are entitled to Tax Free prices on fragrances, cosmetics and skincare; photographic and electrical goods; fashion and accessories; gifts, jewellery and souvenirs. There are no longer any allowance restrictions on these Tax Free items.

 

Duty Free Allowance / Tax Free Allowance

 

When travelling from the EU* to the UK you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods you have bought in another EU country without paying tax or duty as long as tax was included in the price when you purchased the items, the items are for your own use, and have been transported to the UK by you. This includes gifts, but does not include any item that is intended to be used as payment or to be resold.

 

Although there are no limits on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring in from the EU, a Customs Officer is more likely to ask about the purposes for which you hold the goods if you bring large quantities of them. This will most likely be the case if you appear at the airport with more than:

 

800 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 1 kg of smoking tobacco 110 litres of beer 10 litres of spirits 90 litres of wine 20 litres of fortified wine e.g. port or sherry

 

* The EU countries currently include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (Greek part), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (but not the Canary Islands), Sweden and the United Kingdom (but not the Channel Islands).

 

When travelling from outside the EU to the UK you are allowed to bring in the following amount of duty/tax free goods, provided you travel with the items and do not intend to sell them (if you go over this allowance, you may have to pay duty and/or tax):

 

200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco 4 litres of still wine 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs that are less than 22% volume 16 litres of beer up to £390 worth of all other goods including gifts, perfume and souvenirs (£270 if arriving by private plane or private boat)

 

Please note: From Dec 1 2008 you can 'mix and match' products in the alcohol category, and the tobacco category, provided you do not exceed your total allowance. For example you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars, which is 50 per cent of your


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Where were you travelling from?


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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I caught the boat from Belgium to Harwich. I drive an HGV in France Germany Belgium etc on a weekly basis.

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"When travelling from the EU* to the UK you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods you have bought in another EU country without paying tax or duty as long as tax was included in the price when you purchased the items"

 

Imho youre not supposed to get duty free if travelling from eu to UK. You say that you bought the tobacco in the 'duty free shop". Did you pay the duty free price?

 

If you dud then the shop staff should've told you that you are not entitled to buy. However, I have been encouraged to buy over the limit by such staff in the past


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Although it says unlimited for personal use the customs officials have to make a judgement on weather they think it is for personal use. 9kgs is a lot whichever way you look at it, if unlimited were to mean unlimited without any questions there would be nothing to stop people bringing in lorry loads of duty free.There is an appeal process if you think the seizure was unwarrented so you will have to go down that route.Customes may also have had suspicions as you travel frequently in a lorry.


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It was one of the assistants in the shop that informed customs. The Law is definitely not black and white in this as if you carry over 1kg of tobacco then you are open to have any more than that seized yet the law states you can bring back unlimited amounts as long as it is for personal use. I knew the legal limits when returning from the Canaries and only bought the legal amount in duty free yet because the seizure the week before Customs pulled myself and my family. They weren't interested in the official duty free bags we had - only the suitcases which did not contain anything. If I was going to sell tobacco I would have definitely brought it back from the Canaries because it is so cheap! By the look on the customs officer's face he thought he was going to have the catch of the day - clearly very disappointed when our suitcases didn't contain anything! There are thousands of lorries which travel on specific cargo ferries each week it is no unusual for wagon drivers to be regularly travelling to Europe.

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Am I wrong in thinking the following 3 things:

 

1. You are not allowed any duty free whatsoever if travelling within eu

 

2. There are strict limits on duty free anyway

 

3. Even if you buy cheap fags abroad (duty paid) in exceptionally large quantaties, questions will be asked?


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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If you are travelling from an EU country into the UK the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring in is unlimited as long as it is for personal use. The guidelines state that Customs are likely to ask questions if anyone brings over more than 200 cigarettes or 1kg tobacco which gives them free reign to seize all goods if you carrying over this amount. The limits of duty free are limited from the Canaries.

 

Customs can only seize the goods if they consider the goods are going to be sold on. If you carry more than a 1kg of tobacco Customs can come to that decision even if there is no evidence.

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I have received a letter today confirming that Restoration proceedings have also commenced and should receive a decision in 6 weeks. They ask if I have any further information to assist my case to forward it to them. I'm not really sure if I should add anything as my main reason for restoration is that the seizure was illegal and apparantly I am unable to use that as a reason for restoration that has to be dealt with by the condemnation proceedings! Anyone have any experience of this at all.

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There are no limits on the amount of tobacco you can bring back from France into the UK, as long as its for your own personal use. Customs have guideline amounts, which at present is 1KG. That means if your carrying more then 1KG and customs suspect you may have it for a commercial purpose, then they will ask you questions.

 

I'm presuming you was interviewed by an officer, who would have asked a variety of questions of questions to establish whether the tobacco was for your own personal use or whether you had it for a commercial purpose. At the end of the interview based on the answers you had given, the officer would have then made a decision believing you held the tobacco for a commercial purpose and seized it. The officer would have issued you paperwork and informed you of his reasons for seizing the tobacco.

 

Customs do not operate on any kind of bonuses/commission based on seizures.

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Can we just establish that thus tobacco was NOT duty free but rather bought at foreign prices (less tax therefore a lot cheaper)?

 

You are Not entitled to duty free within eu and even if you were, 200 cigs is the limit.

 

Unless I am wrong?


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Its tobacco purchased within the EU, as UKBA only do restoration proceedings on seized tobacco purchased in the EU.


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No I didn't have any interview. I was asked if the tobacco was for personal use and because they didn't believe me they have the right to sieze it. I paid £10 to request copies of the officers' notebooks. I was told that they didn't hold any information on me and then I complained and eventually I received a photocopy of one of the officer's notebooks but I signed 2 copies and I still haven't received the copy of the other officer's notebook. It's just a sham it's no wonder we have illegal immigrants here. The officer's notebook that I have got a copy of is incorrect and it doesn't relate to anything that happened on the day of the seizure.

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Hello Scaniaman.

 

You've just replied to a post from July last year. Have you got the right thread?

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry, I realise it's your thread so obviously you know what you're doing. :)

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes I have thanks, I've only just read the replies thought I'd keep the thread up to date even though I have not reach a resolution.

 

Thanks

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Have a look at this link http://nothing-2-declare.blogspot.co.uk/ and you will find everything you need

to fight them AND get your goods back.

If they do destroy them before you get a chance to get them back you can take legal action and get your money back.

 

George

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Thanks George I've already been in touch with the guy at Smoking Hot and he's has been extremely helpful. He has told me the Border Force are giving me the run around. I will keep going. If they can't provide copies of the Officer's notebooks when I have paid £10 for it what hope is there. Might as well let all the illegals know they're bound to get in with our Border Force!

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I am not sure what the current duty free rules are but 9 kgs of tabacco does seem to be a bit excessive. Last time I brought back 1kg of tabacco and a few blemish balms for a good freind of mine and did not have any problems at the Customs. As far as I know they allow you to bring the amount back that's for personal use, but then again 9 kgs for personal use seems a lot. That would probably last you at least for a few months.

 

But of course I wish you best of luck with getting your goods back!

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