Zaphod v HMRC

Taking Customs to court

I’ve referred to this before, and it’s still ongoing. Just an update here.

Six years ago, two of us had cigs seized by customs, (about 10.000 each). We appealed by letter, and the appeal was finally successful. But the cigs, they said, had now been destroyed, so they offered compensation, a little less than we had paid in Spain. This is standard procedure. Many court cases and appeals have finally defined this as legally correct. But nothing is ever final in law. We’re fighting on.

We refused their offer, and are trying to get them in small claims court for real compensation. They have asked the court to rule that it has no jurisdiction. The first jurisdiction hearing was adjourned two weeks ago, when I demolished their barrister’s argument. The judge has adjourned to give them chance to think of a better argument.

I asked the judge to order them to disclose when the cigs were actually destroyed, and I’ve just received the appeals officer’s statement.

They received my appeal on 29 Nov 2004, and acknowledged it on 6 Dec. I have now discovered that my cigs were then placed on the destruction list on 8 Dec, two days later. (“Perishable”! Spite?).

On 21 Dec they wrote again, now refusing our appeal and giving stupid reasons. We replied, pointing out their stupidity.

On 2 Mar, they replied and gave in, accepting our appeal, but they “confirmed” that all of the cigs had been destroyed. Compensation was offered. We refused it, and demanded more. The argument continues.

Now I find out from this statement, that over a month after telling us that our cigs had been destroyed, My friend’s cigarettes were only actually placed on the destruction list, on 5 Apr!

It gets worse! All of the cigs were actually destroyed on 27 May! 11 weeks after they offered us nearly £2000 of taxpayers money as compo instead! Which we had refused!

And this is assuming that they are now telling the truth to the court.

Can I win this jurisdiction argument and get them into real court? Watch this space.



  1. Zaphod refers to 'two of us' ... alas tis not me, it's his better half. Far prettier too!

  2. [Slightly off topic]People if you go to the Belgium then can I suggest you NOT buy in bulk in Adinkirk? Plain clothes UK Customs clock every Brit plated car , on a good day you can see them sitting in a two year good car on the side of road...ask any truck driver. Also AVOID buying GV. You have a bootful of, say, 'Route66'(malboro-clone tobacco) then its far more likely that its for private use...personally I like to bring back Gauloises rolling tobacco cos no smuggler in his right mind would want to try and sell that down the 'Dog And Duck'.
    When you get off the Dover-Dunkirk ferry then drive past Adinkirk and stay on the motorway until you hit a Service Station, you can get a tin of 'Route 66' 140g for about 11 Euros...or you could even stay on the motorway all the way to Brugge and get some won't kill you.

  3. Shinar ... personally l disagree. l have the brand that l like and l simply refuse to be intimidated by the UKBA and change my brand.

    lt's a matter of principle to me and l won't budge on it.

  4. @smoking hot, that you are prepared to suffer for your principles is of course right and proper. Thing is, I like Gauloises et al and I've never liked GV. Started smoking Old Horrible (Holborn) back in the day. At lot of us roll up smokers (although I now 'tube') have simply had to get used to GV because that or Drum is pretty much the only stuff available in the darker corner of the 'Pig N Whistle'.

  5. PS. Although Smoking Hot is absolutely correct: You have a legal right to purchase the brand of your choice (assuming its stocked) and bring it back into the UK and not be molested by The Schutzstaffel of the UKBA or have it stolen from you by i-Dave's minions. You shouldn't have to change your brand to appear less 'guilty'. You are doing nothing wrong. However in the real world, bringing back a brand that no smuggler would sell...

  6. @shinar, that's good that you smoke what you like. l actively enjoy taking on UKBA ... it's now a crusade! :) l have very little idea what's being sold in pubs as l seldom go in and what l get is for personal use only. l also get a great deal of satisfaction from helping people EU shop and get home safely ... and helping people with their appeals if they've had goods confiscated.

    Thanks for the info by the way on plain clothes UKBA nr Adinkerke. Info like that really helps shoppers. The more we look after each other the better.

    Feel like taking a trip to Andinkerke now ... could be fun!

  7. "it's a crusade"-Smoking Hot

    And you, Sir, are indeed a Paladin of note, a mighty warrior for the Lord...and a bit of a hero for a lot of us.

  8. hi smoking, I am sure that if customs have destroyed your tobacco that according to their rules they have to pay for said tobacco where you were stopped ie replace the tobacco at uk prices as you were stopped in uk. That was one of my arguments when I went to court but my barrister basically said take the money (spanish prices) and run as I also got court costs awarded to me which was around 5000 pounds, which my barrister got most of!. My barrister also said that they would go to the highest court and i couldnt afford that, I just wish I could have.


  9. Severs,
    An appeal by HMRC in the high court, "Regina v Machell", has set the latest precedent. (As far as I know). Price in country of purchase, no travel costs. But only if they followed all the rules of CEMA in the seizure. Rarely does that happen!

    In my case, I've got three reasons for ignoring the provisions of CEMA, and getting compensation under common law, for "conversion of tort".

    And no, I don't really know what I'm talking about. But I beat their barrister!

  10. Karl, Zaphod is in unchartered territory it seems. At this rate it will be a test case. :)

  11. I will check my correspondence from those bastards tomorrow. Good luck with anything you do again those Nazi's


  12. Do these UKBA twats ever tell the truth? Fucking lying bastards!

  13. Dear Mr Beeblebrox

    A classic case of too much time, too little to do for our public servants.

    There may be 'incentives' as well - cut of the loot or commission. Our public servants are becoming extremely third world: lazy, thieving, venal liars.

    Why do we pay taxes?


    PS 1 July - National Smoking Day


"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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