"Regular Tripper's" Coach Company EU Shopping Trip Report

Report from 18th June 2011

Did you know that autumn officially starts in July?  Well it does to HMRC it appears.
Yesterday I was on a coach trip to Adinkerke and I had mentioned to one of our drivers the document you linked to “Tackling Tobacco Smuggling – building on our success”.  I had asked our driver if he was aware of the new MILs and if so, how it would affect the company’s trips, which they run every month.

Our driver hadn’t heard about it and I offered to email a copy to the company, which I was going to do this morning, however, darker forces were at work.

When we pulled into the Channel Tunnel UKBA holding pen, the driver asked the officers if they would like the passengers to just go through passport control or if they needed to take all their tobacco through too.  The Customs wanted the latter, so everyone collected up their tobacco and dutifully filed into the passport control.

And here is where the fun started.  EVERYBODY on the coach was questioned, 50 people, a large proportion of which were pensioners.  We had to stand and queue for ages while they checked every bag and questioned every passenger on the usual questions (I was prepared having read your site).  At least 3 elderly travellers were held on one side for further questioning, elderly people with trouble walking were made to stand in line and wait their turn to be grilled for over half an hour (standing not grilling).

While we were waiting, two more coaches pulled in behind us, one from France, and one from Germany.  The passengers on the French and German coaches were herded through passport control, one or two bless them joined the back of our queue, only to be told, very politely by customs officers, that they did not need to queue and that they should just carry on through.

They didn’t even need passports to get into the UK, a variety of photocard driving licences, ID cards and passports, and just about anything with a picture on were presented for scanning and they were through, unlike our British travellers who had to have an up to date British passport.  These visitors, holidaymakers, were not even required to take their luggage off their coaches.  They were processed quickly by UKBA and on their way in less time than it took for us to stand in line for questioning.

The usual question of where had we been was asked to every passenger to my knowledge, now come on, the coach driver probably told them we had been to Adinkerke, they must know that a coach full of people cannot have one person divert on their own to somewhere different.

As far as I am aware, even after all the theatre (scaremongering and putting the fear of God into elderly people), nobody had their goods seized.  A few however were issued with the guideline leaflets and at least one was told he must not return for 6 months (he had last made a trip in April).

Now, back to autumn beginning in July.  As we waited for our fellow travellers, the coach driver told me that the thing I had been on about (new MILs), he had been told in the border post will start in July, isn’t that good for the holiday season?

So, there you have it, it appears they are having a field day with British travellers, however if you are a European citizen (even though we too are supposedly Europeans), you can waltz in without let or hindrance.  So nice to be considered an undesirable in my own country.

Regular Tripper


  1. Fair enough, but maybe the French travellers are similarly abused when they return to France... ok I'll get my hat

  2. Brit smokers are hounded at every opportunity and if they dare to buy their baccy cheaper in the EU they are hounded even more. Yeh the germans french and anyone else can come as go as they please but not us Brits in our own country.

    l say dont be scared of the goonies and just follow the advice on here. They can stuff the new guidlines where the sun dont shine!

  3. @ Anon 14:27

    Actually the French and the Germans have started harassing their own citizens who buy tobacco in the BNL where it is cheaper. Although nothing like to the degree our own dearly beloved UKBA do.

    That's the Britain we know and love...leading the rest of the world in being fascist money grabbing cunts.

  4. Anon 14.27

    Actually, l can't remember ever seeing any Customs when arriving in France/Belgium from the UK and l've never heard of anyone being stopped by them either.

    Think that goes for virtually everyone flying to holiday destinations in EU too.

  5. SH, both French and German Customs don't usually loiter at the border because that would probably be a breach of the 'open border' EUness. They tend to pull over their own tobacco laden citizens a couple of klicks down the Autobahn.

    Although the German Customs tend to concerntrate on their other border, the one to countries where packets of straights are still cheap.

  6. Been On the Germany/Luxembourg border many, many times, they do tend to throw up Zoll/police check points now and again.
    AS has been stated before i have flown into many eu countries and never had problems with customs.
    Flying into say Frankfurt hahn for example say from Riga or Poland is like a uk internal flight thanks to the Shengan agrement.

  7. Smokers face Stalag UK on leaving and coming back.

  8. Of course, foreign tourists entering Britian are about to spend their Euro's in the UK paying UK duty prices.

    Judging by the behaviour of the UKBA it seems their raison d'etre is not to police the borders but to capture unpaid duty.

    It all makes perfect sense.

    I think it common practice with acquaintances from the subcontinent always maintain two passports they use whichever is likely to cause them less hassle at the point of entry.

  9. Anon 10.10 ... Foreign tourists bring in their own tobacco/cigarettes :)


"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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