Uncooperative UKBA, King George Dock, Hull

Went into UKBA (Customs) and spoke to officers at the enquiry desk I said  " l'm going on the ferry tomorrow to Zeebrugge and then into Brugge to buy some tobacco. l intend to buy 3 kg of Samson and l'd like to make certain that this is ok because there are cases where you (the UKBA) have confiscated this amount and under.
I have all the relevant information with me so if there is any problem you can tell me what it is so l can sort it out before l travel."

They point blank refused and said it was up to the UKBA officer who would be on duty at the time and would be that officer's decision alone and not theirs. l said l didn't understand and did the law change depending on which officer was applying it? They then went into total repetitive parrot mode and just kept repeating that it would be the UKBA officer's decision who stopped me and not theirs. Finally, l just laughed and walked out.

So folks, there you have it. No help whatsoever ... just a response of   "Try it and find out".

l thought l was caught in a Monty Python sketch! :)


  1. Hi Smoking, When I won my case in court, i rang UKBA up and explained the situation. I said that seeing that they took my tobacco off me could I have a letter stating that I was entitled to bring the same amount of tobacco they took off me and supposedly destroyed. Not a firking chance.

    bunch of twats


  2. "l intend to buy 3kg of Samson and l'd like to make certain that this is ok "

    Does anybody know the answer to that question ?
    I would have thought that it was quite a simple question.

  3. Thats bad call SH. Youll be a marked man now.

  4. Anon 17.42 lt would be if you they wer not looking for you. Due to recent battles, past and ongoing) l'm sure their system lights up like a Christmas tree! LOL

    Anon 17.25 Mmmmm, wonder what that would be?

  5. Karl, would really expect anything else? They dont want you to EU shop .... period!

  6. You keep coming up with stuff SH. What is so difficult for them to do that?

  7. One wonders what their reply would have been if you asked about bringing back some joints for your own personal use or a few illegal immigrants to build your patio and whether it would also be up to the officer in charge...

    Pretty sure they'd have known the law then and informed with absolute clarity....

    As you well know (I include it for any noob reading)the law is just as clear for tobacco as it is for drugs or Kiddy porn. You can bring back any amount as long 1. Duty was paid in the EU country of purchase 2.it is solely for personal use or as gifts and is not to be resold nor used for commercial purposes(including raffles and 'free gifts').

    The UK-SS Offizier should have been able to tell you that.

  8. SH is playing with them. l'm sure they told him that Shinar but as he says he's marked. Going into them and saying l'm bringing 3kg tobacco is very clever. There's no reasonthey couldn't give him a yes or no. l'm sure SH knows what he's doinhg.

  9. The Gestapo will be more on show now for
    Belgium visitors following recent rises of tobacco prices in Spain
    My recent visit was quite busy,most I spoke to saying they had given Spain up.
    My arrival back was greetwd by about 12-15 guards including one blonde bunned SS fraulein
    dragging a sniffing pooch round our bags as we waited at the passport control,sniffing for
    money ,shrilled the well scrubbed HitlerJugendMadchen.
    Lets be honest,England is now one very sad
    offshore sump,not fit for purpose,not worth the bayonet practice.
    Sad truth is,are Englishmen worth fghting for,
    who really wants to stick their necks out for
    a nation which creeps into decline without a

    We await the awaiking,in the meanwhile this Goth will get his kicks in Eastern Europe

    Visigoth back on line

  10. Anyone fortunate enough to be on the same ferry as me when l return to UK will be able to take advantage of me taking atleast 2 UKBA out. l'm not waiting for them to stop me ... l'm going to stop them. :)

  11. @ Martin, yes Dude I realize exactly what SH was doing. My point was that UK-SS are playing fast and loose with the law for political reasons. The Officer SH questioned should have just said: " I can give no guarantee that you won't be stopped but The law is blah-blah-blah and as long as there is 'no reasonable suspicion of commerciality' to the contrary you can bring in as much as you like".

    An officer who wanted to go up and beyond the call of duty might then also have said 'here's some handy information about how to avoid any suspicion of smuggling: 1.keep all receipts 2. etc etc. Something IME almost every policeman would do in equatable circumstances ('if you think it might be stolen gear then tell us')

  12. I came off the Zebrugge ferry yesterday, There was 1 goonie standing at the side of passport control and 1 policeman, downstairs there were about 3 goonies knocking about, they were pulling people, but i wouldnt say harrassing!
    Use the smallest case you can get away with!!some people on the ferry have coffin size cases, you dont need to be a rocket scientist, just walk behind them lol.

  13. Dirtyrider ... it becomes harassment at the interrogation stage as you well know. Also when they pull all passengers off a coach making them bring their excise goods with them is harassment.

    Shinar ... no, what should happen is that the officer should be able to give you clearance for the goods you bring back. So, when you comeback and if you are stopped, you can say Officer 'whoever, id 34211' gave me clearance for 3kg of tobacco. Here's receipt showing duty paid ... job done. Why can't they do this?

  14. Good idea Smokey, why carnt they do this? Any legitimate shopper would do it but l can see smugglers not being so keen. So whats ukba's f'ing problem?

  15. @SH, I don't think (I bow to your superior knowledge of the law though) that a UK SS Officer is legally allowed to give 'advance clearance', it isn't his job to permit imports, they ARE permitted. He is subject to the law of the land as we all are.

    I'm trying to find words to express this concept better as it is a little convoluted. It isn't his job to decide to allow (or not) you something that is already allowed by law. All he can, and should legally do, is inform you of the law and not what some lackey thinks he can choose to allow.

    Does that make sense? Probably not :( I really wish i had your (SH) turn of phrase and skill with words. It is NOT the officer's place to grant, oh so generously, any permission nor advance clearance.

  16. It isn't 'clearance' as such as you would not simply expect to be waived through without checking that you have brought back only the amount that was agreed. It's a system that would work and be relatively easy to implement. Any legitimate shopper can have little objections to doing so. lsn't this what UKBA want? ... to allow legitimate shoppers their goods and so concentrate on smugglers? Well, the simple answer to that is no ... they want to disrupt ALL EU shoppers and make them not shop in the EU.

    As for the law/regs ....

    Yes, the UKBA officer is subject to the law of the land, the same as us. However it is HIS/HER interpretation of that law on an INDIVIDUAL BASIS!

    EXAMPLE:- if you come back into this country with your excise goods and there are 2 UKBA officers waiting to do a stop and search ... the 1st officer stops you and is quite happy to let you through ... however if it's the second officer that stops you, he/she will not let you through and then confiscate your goods. It's the INTERPRETATION of the law by any officer and what they BELIEVE. They are not applying the law, they are applying how they feel about you.

    NO EVIDENCE is necessary, it's simply a BELIEF system and an abused one at that.

  17. "NO EVIDENCE is necessary, it's simply a BELIEF system and an abused one at that. "

    QFT except it isn't even a genuinely held belief, in most cases, just keeping their Lords And masters happy (or rather their statistics and coffers).

    While I see the sense in the system you suggest (although why you think there is any place for old fashioned Common Sense in anything to do with the UK SS is frankly beyond me :P ) the fact remains that it shouldn't be necessary to have any system except the law ie you can bring back any amount without let or hindrance except when the UK SS have evidence or at least reasonable 'suss' to the contrary.

  18. SBC is right, it shouldn't be necessary. But the interesting thing is, Customs don't want to do it.
    It's not about getting "permission" or approval, it's just that genuine regular shoppers would be happy to give advance notice of what they'd be bringing, but smugglers, (and awkward buggers like me) would not.
    Customs hate the idea, because they want to disrupt genuine shopping. That's the interesting point.

  19. SBC ... 'SENSE' in the UKBA? I'd never dream of saying such a thing. My dealings with the UKBA have made me firmly believe that they are obsessed with proving Einstein's quotes :-

    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits"

    "The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

  20. I think perhaps next time I go I might email the UK-SS before hand and tell them roughly how much I am bringing back and keep a printed copy on me incase I'm stopped...along with all SH's advice & articles, receipts, and a 'spy cam' watch....which all shouldn't be necessary but we live in an imperfect world.

  21. SBC ... no need for the e-mail. l only went into UKBA only to show that they have no interest at all in the legitimate shopper.

    We also take all our paperwork with us. Have that and everything should be ok.

    The 'spycam' watch is interesting. We did the first audio of an interrogation. Who's going to be the first one to have a video of it, l wonder?

    Our audio on youtube has approx 6,400 hits so far. :)

  22. SH, you know the saying: "A grainy lo-res 15 fps video is worth a thousand covert scratchy audio recordings on Youtube"! If we could get a dancing cat with a straw up its nose swinging a russian baby by its heels on film ALONG with the UK-SS officers THEN it'd get billions of hits. That's what the internet is there for...


"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

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