An IT guy l know has just returned from Belgium where he was working for a week. lt's rare that he gets these jobs were he has to leave the country so on his return he bought himself 6kg of tobacco (3kg over the 'guidelines'). Upon his return to the UK by ferry to the port of Hull he was waylaid by the welcoming UKBA dressed as robocops ... oohhh scary. He was a prime target to be stopped being a lone passenger, dressed in t-shirt and jeans, dragging an overnight case and carrying a large computer bag.
He went through the usual pantomime of the informal interview and then had to put his baggage through the xray machine even though he told them he had brought back the tobacco. lt being 3kg over the 'guidelines' he then had to endure the A-J questioning. Usual stuff about where he bought them, how much he smokes, can he roll a cigarette, does he have a lighter, how often does he go abroad, his financial and job status , blah blah blah and the added trick trap questions.
None of this was a problem to him as he knows exactly what to say and carried docs to back him up. So apart from being held-up for 45 mins. he left with his goods intact.
But here's the interesting bit, not only did his flight bag go through the x-ray machine but also his computer bag. The tobacco was all in his flight bag but none in his computer bag. However, what was in his computer bag was 2 resealable plastic bags with powder of about 4oz weight each. One is a white powder and the other is a brown powder. These are his reserve emergency addict supplies ... coffee and coffemate. He drinks coffee and can't go without it and as some hotels are very stingy on the coffee supplies in the rooms, he takes his own ... even when visiting friends! On this occasion it was not needed as the hotel gave him as much as he wanted. He brought back quite a few of the sachets from the hotel ... along with the free toiletries (my sister is manic about this, she calls it mine sweeping). Also in his bag was a squidgy gel that he has to use with his left hand. He recently had surgery on it after an accident and has to use the squeeze gel to build the muscles back up and restore full flexibility..
None of these items were picked up by the UKBA despite them being 2 bags of powder and a lump of gel. l don't think l have to explain what the powder could've been but the gel, for those that don't know, looks similar to plastic explosive when viewed through x-ray. Also in his bag was a number of tools including a multi-meter, screwdrivers and cables.
The UKBA will continue to protect you ... from tobacco! Feel safer now?
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