Part 2 .... The Appeal. The UKBA/HMRC "Scales of Justice" for Cross-Border Shoppers

We've just heard here about how HMRC/UKBA treat two people. One has legally bought Duty paid tobacco and the other has illegal drugs. So far, the person with the drugs is getting the protection and rights afforded to him but the person with the tobacco is getting no such thing. What happens next? ... let's see.

The person carrying tobacco

This person (shopper) has had his legally bought tobacco for personal use seized by UKBA/HMRC although he's done nothing wrong other than not being prepared for the tactics used by UKBA/HMRC. His tobacco has been seized and he has now been issued with a C156  Seizure Notice which gives him 1 calendar month to appeal although the UKBA/HMRC have also tried to intimidate him into not appealing by telling him he will lose and will be liable for costs in the region of £2500.(Their site says £1500 but they even exaggerate that) as well as being liable for his own solicitors costs.)

(Note:- UKBA/HMRC say they do this to be 'helpful' so as not to afford the aggrieved shopper further undue hardship! Yeah right! Pity they aren't so helpful as to advise legitimate shoppers what to do to avoid seizure!)

So, the person now has this C156 that lists the amount and description of his goods seized. It should also tell him where to appeal to although this is sometimes missing. :) He's already been asked to read and sign the UKBA/HMRC officers notebook stating that the contents are a truthful and factual account of the interview.. Fortunately he has refused to do this and has only signed his name. This at least guards against anything being added later by the officer ... well, sort of.   The shopper will not get a copy of this notebook! When our shopper finally leaves the officer will then write in this notebook the reasons for seizure ... which of course our shopper has not read!

Once our shopper gets home he begins to address his Appeal Against Seizure. He then realises that he doesn't specifically know why his goods have been seized. At the time of the seizure all he was told was that the officer believed they were for a commercial purpose and that was it! So he contacts UKBA/HMRC (not an easy task) and asks for a copy of the officers notebook. He is told that he will have to submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) , a cheque for £10 and it will take 40 days.

Except he doesn't have 40 days does he? He only has 1 calendar month ... at best 31 days! (even Julie Wiggs over at JMWCC has commented on this. See here. )

So now he has to put in an Appeal Against Seizure and ask for a review but is unable to address the specific reasons for the seizure of his goods because he doesn't know them and by the time he does it will be too damn late!  All he can do is try and guess what the reasons are from his memory of the incident. He now wishes he had listened to the advice given by such as ourselves and had at least taken and used a recording device to record the whole incident.

Dejectedly, he completes his Appeal Against Seizure as best he can. Once it is finished, he goes and posts it to UKBA/HMRC Appeals Team. He is not feeling good about this but reflects things could've been worse ... he could've been in his new £20k car and had that seized too!

Wonder how the person with the drugs is getting on? ... let's see shall we?

The person carrying drugs

Well, he's doing fine actually. He's been released on bail. His free solicitor is handling everything. The solicitor has the full interview on tape, has requested the evidence against his client and will receive it shortly. In the meantime the Crown Prosecution Service will review the case against our person carrying drugs and see if there is enough evidence in their opinion to prosecute.

Part 3 to follow


  1. Why not get a lawyer for the appeal?

  2. So how come, in court, the Treaty of Rome doesn't stop this nonsense? Duty paid means he can import as much as he likes. Although I can understand their motives re larege quantities, the Treaty of Rome is very clear about the uninhibted flow of goods and services within the EU.

  3. @ Chalcedon ... they really are a law unto themselves and there is very little, if any, justice to be seen. The only reason l can see that no influential people/blogs/msm have made this an issue is because it involves smokers.

  4. @ Anon 14.06

    Think you should ask Zaphod that. :)

  5. @ Anon 14:06

    Because lawyers charge a fortune (no Legal Aid as its a civil matter unlike the person up on drugs charges). One case reported here had lawyer costs of a grand and still lost.

    Secondly most solictors WON'T TOUCH such cases. We've heard countless times of people not being able to find one willing.

    Thirdly, the solictors who WILL often aren't much good, it's a very strange obscure bit of legalz where normal rules don't apply and the full force of the state is 'agin ye'.

    You are much better off getting SH or Julie Wiggs, a former Sked-Head herself, to help you.

    You should hear Zaphod on lawyers and courts.

  6. SBC ... As pure research l once joined a law forum and asked questions about having my cigarettes confiscated by HMRC. The answers l got back from all except one were absolute 'Sked'. However, the one that didn't quote 'Sked' pm'd me and told me to ignore them as they knew nothing and she admitted herself that she didn't either!

  7. What sayeth you, Zaphod? :-)

  8. They are power mad bullies that need taking down a peg or two. Oh, and well done SH on getting mentioned on Richard Norths blogroll on EU Referendum. x

  9. When I get back (off home to Germany this week for 14 days of pigging myself into a coma or 'til the paramedics come' as we say in German ) methinks a Website campaigning for the inclusion of the noun 'sked' and the verb 'to sked' in the next OED should be posted.

    I also wish to see the changing of the Customs Hall of a port or airport to 'The Sked Shed'!

  10. Love it SBC! ... it has to be done! :)

    Thanks for the comments Andrea.

  11. I'm daren't comment on the usefulness of expensive solicitors just now, as I am currently using one who is aware of this blog. I am very optimistic that it won't be a painful waste of a helluva lot of money. Honest, I really am. I have faith. I believe, I really do. I trust my very expensive solicitor. (Whimper).

  12. SH, you've been told off for attacking Sked on Daytripper. You naughty boy :-)

  13. Andrea ... Sked's decisions have turned up in a number of cases, all documented, factual and in the public domain. His decisions, reasoning, maths and logic have hurt innocent people causing them loss and stress. Further to this, his input has cost the country in compensation payouts and court costs.

    For someone who's been employed by the UKBA/HMRC for 25 years and 16 of those as an appeals officer he's either carrying out an internal policy by UKBA/HMRC or is incompetent in my honest opinion. Either way we won't lose any sleep over the articles and comments about him.

    'We don't do nice. We do right'

  14. Andrea, thanks for pointing that out (I don't read DT normally)! I don't think anyone pays any attention to the 'captain' anyways, he's either a troll or is indeed a sked..if not THE sked.

    SH, and we alls, must continue to name and shame. There's a bible verse about 'shining light into the darkness' which i won't quote cos Zaphod might have one of his *coughs* 'turns'

  15. Captain on DT is an arsehole and SBC is prob right he's a sked. You never see him on here do you? Must be hiding his works IP so keeps on DT. Wings is ok but far too nicey nicey for me with this don't upset and atteck the goonies. Fuck 'em!

  16. Prop ... he's ignored by many on Daytripper. Wings is far more a gentleman than me and still believes that integrity exists in UKBA/HMRC whereas l certainly do not.

  17. Well written topic (I had very same situation with amount of cigarettes) and great comments under, but please - any idea how to write an appeal or if someone of you did a succesful one? Would appreciate any help, as english isn't my language but, it is so important what words or terms I'll put in my appeal. Do not asking an advanced law advice - just some clues to avoid mistakes which I'm not able to expect due to low level of understanding most of HMRC language. Thanks

    1. Join the forum and you'll get help. lt's what it's there for.

    2. Tnx - I just got in and I'm impressed of its content!!!! Great job guys!!!


"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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