Why Are We So Unique?

lf YOU are a Cross-Border Shopper, we want you to read this and read all of it! Then we want YOU to make a comment. We get between 3500-4000 visitors per week (not bad for a single-issue site aiming at just 25% of the population ... that is to say, smokers!) and the majority of you are Cross-Border Shoppers. We too are Cross-Border Shoppers but that is where the similarity ends ... we, along with a few others, seem to be unique and we want to know something ... WHY?. Only YOU can tell us ... read on.

Recent investigation results re Freedom of Information requests have shocked us to the core. Through our own requests and those of our good friend Justine we have been trying to extract the true picture as to what is happening with UKBA seizures and subsequent Appeals against Seizures. Getting this information is like extracting teeth. The UKBA/HMRC are extremely reluctant to give us this information and try everything they can to keep this information from reaching the public. However, we are nothing but persistent and do eventually get results.

One of our main objectives has been to try and get the actual number of seizures per year. UKBA/HMRC have no problem whatsoever in giving the amount of tobacco/cigarettes seized but definitely don't want to show how many people have had their goods seized.

Prior to part of HMRC merging with the Border and Immigration Agency ?(BIA) to form the UKBA in April 2008 there was a fair of amount of data released. Although this data didn't give the whole picture atleast it was something. Since the UKBA have been in existance, even this data has been witheld!

So, we started with the last time HMRC released the data and it showed the following for the period 2008/9. For the purpose of this post we are concentrating on only part of this data and highlighted it  :-

Overseas seizures 855 million cigarettes
Air seizures 244 million cigarettes
Inland seizures 180 million cigarettes
Maritime seizures 557 million cigarettes
Cross channel passenger seizures 11 million cigarettes
Number of cross channel seizures 2,836

You'll note that HMRC only show the NUMBER of  seizures for Cross Channel and NOT any of the others. You'll also note that the data is for cigarette seizures only and NOT tobacco (HRT)

So, what's the NUMBER of seizures for the Air Seizures figure? By taking the Cross Channel data and applying it by simple maths to the Air Seizures we get the NUMBER of seizures at UK Airports for 2008/9 to be approx 63,000. That's 63,000 people! ... and that's without the number of seizures for Overseas, Maritime and lnland! 63,000 ... got that?

How many of these 63,000 appealed against the seizures?   673! .... just 673 ,,, yep, that's right .... a measly 673 ... approx 1%. ln reality even this 1% is far too big when you consider the NUMBER of seizures to be added from all the Overseas (Coquelles), Maritime, lnland and not forgetting the 2836 that HMRC showed. A final realistic figure will be FAR LESS THAN 1%!

How many people won their initial Appeal Against Seizure? .... 15! ... yep 15! Add to that a further 52 as UKBA say approx 8% win their case at Magistrates court.

Now take our own personal Appeals Against Seizure. What's our success rate? ... 100%! ... and that's with amounts way over the guidelines. We are just ordinary people who refuse to be intimidated or bullied and that's all really it takes. Once you stand up to them you'll see UKBA are NOT remotely as powerful and clever as you think they are.

So, wtf can we conclude from this? Yes there will be a percentage of smugglers amongst these seizure figures but that isn't the answer because UKBA would happily release these figures if they were all smugglers ... and prosecute them. You have to conclude that UKBA would be embarrassed by releasing the actual NUMBER of seizures because they know, as we do, most are just ordinary Cross-Border Shoppers and questions would be asked. Parliament, MSM, so called Liberty groups/blogs etc would have to then take note. As it is, they are happy to keep it swept under the carpet.

How do UKBA get away with it? .... because of YOU! For various reasons YOU allow UKBA to rob you. Either you screw up on the interview, don't go prepared, trust the UKBA, intimidated by them, to scared to fight back and so on. No wonder the UKBA are so arrogant and do what they want, they know that virtually no-one fights back!

l'm not being nasty to you or disrespectful ... l'm just telling you the facts as they are.

Why are we, and a few others, so unique when it comes to taking on the UKBA?

More to the point ... tell us WHY YOU won't fight back?


  1. You can lead a horse to water but can't make them drink SH but some you can't even lead to water! UK is now full of pussyfied wimps

  2. Prop is right, you can lead a biker to water but you can't make him wash.

  3. SBC...I just had a shower!

    Apropos this post though, it could be because some who read this don't actually smoke (myself being one of them), and I would never have even thought of it being a problem had I not stumbled on this blog.
    I imagine most will think it won't happen to them, and only discover this blog, et al., after their smokes are confiscated and they start 'googling'.
    Obviously now I have read it, and now I've conquered my fear of flying, when I actually do go abroad and bring back tobacco as gifts for friends (never before having been aware how much cheaper it was abroad), I will be armed with a SOT, and whatever else seems sensible.

  4. Smokey, l can see were you get the airport seizure figures from and l'd say you were right cos passengers only have something like 29kg allowance. Woudnt work for overseas, maritime and inland though would it? What do you think total number of seizures are?

  5. "I would never have even thought of it being a problem had I not stumbled on this blog."

    Yeah, that pretty much sums up my own experience. I've been shopping abroad for a longtime and always relied on my natural charm and general Sex Godliness to get me through...then i found this blog and realized that being irresistible to women wasn't simply going to be enough by itself!

  6. Only fifteen successful appeals?

    Bloody hell, most of those are me!

    Seriously though, it's no wonder UKBA are so casual and arrogant.

    Be prepared, do not consent, do not sign-

    And then you can appeal, successfully!

  7. Anon 16.32 Yes those are more difficult as it will involve trucks and containers. You'll note that in the figure for Cross-Channel it distinctly says Cross-Channel? ... not Cross-Border :)

    All of the other ports are not Cross-Channel. Ports like Hull. Harwich, Newcastle, Aberdeen are all North Sea.

    Ports like Portsmouth do cross the Channel but also go to Spain, Portugal etc so they aren't Cross Channel either.

    The Tunnel ... not exactly Cross-Channel either ... it goes under it and ends up lnland in UK and Overseas in France. See where l'm going with this?

    Maritime? ... cruiseships etc and so on?

    l wouldn't be at all surprised that the total NUMBER of seizures is over 200,000 per year.

    We'll keep pressing on with the FOI's ... thanks Mr Blair!

  8. Alcantra, SBC ... yes, that has a lot to do with it. We need to educate the masses! :)

  9. SH
    I can't even remember how I stumbled upon your site. Like SBC said, I too have been buying abroad for years, over 10 that I can remember, firstly cigarettes and latterly HRT. I used to fly to Spain every 8 weeks to get my "allowance" (I did know I could purchase as much as I wanted for own consumption, but I didn't want to rile the buggers). In all that time I had been stopped once while HMC were using the airport as a training site, and a comedy of errors that was.
    Anyhow, I did find you, and I found your site informative, sometimes shocking, at times funny, but most of all, incredibly refreshing. The fact that someone had devoted so much time and effort to fighting such a cause impressed me no end. The information you put up is useful and accurate and since you put up your gudes to travelling, I have changed the way I do my trips. I always go prepared now, whereas in the past I would just have a change of underpants and a shirt and toddle off on my day trips (sorry, you probably didn't need that image).
    So far I have been lucky, I have never had any siezures, but without your assistance, I would not have been prepared to take on the UKBA.
    I regularly recommend the site to people and only today advised a first time shopper to go with you on the baccy cruise rather than go on their own through Calais.
    I am certain that UKBA will massage the figures they release, after all, they wouldn't want the real truth to be out there. I have often wondered if each front line member of staff has a target of siezures to make. Cross border shoppers are a soft target for them, easily frightened into giving up their legally purchased goods and as a result, put off ever going shopping abroad again, which probably also suits the Treasury, the real puppetmasters.
    Keep on keeping on MR SH, you certainly have my respect and admiration.

  10. Looks like we are going to have to go to the lnformation Commissioner to get the total number of seizures per year.

    UKBA are saying that it is not in the public interest to release them as doing so is likely to prejudice preventing or detecting crime .... apprehension and prosecution of offenders .... ability to assess or collect tax, duty or similar.

    Anyone have any idea how releasing just the total number of seizures can do any of the above?????

    Remember, we are just talking about the grand total and not specific totals for specific airports, ports etc.

    Anyone think UKBA are getting a little nervous? lol

  11. What total Bollocks!
    That is a serious attempt at an old fashioned D Notice.
    Last time I looked, they were supposed o be civil servants and have their wages paid by us the tax payer. How dare they try to cover things up from us.

  12. True RT ... deserves a post of it's own m'thinks

  13. l'm like the others until l came to this site l had no idea what happens when your stopped by Customs. l do now and take precautions now.

  14. Dave ... and l hope you never do get stopped by UKBA but now you're prepared for them if they do. Stay safe.

  15. I hang my head in SHAME SH, I have never been cross border shopping and usually when coming home from abroad have been too broke to have any cigs left let alone be confiscated...but I will be going on the mini cruise and I will be spending my grant/loan check whilst there and I will be applying all the info you and your buddies can and have afforded me...and as a 2nd yr LAW student I almost look forward to being stopped and the consequential court case and if necessary appeal process...oh yessss now what was my dissertation going to be about again...errrrmmmm!


"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.

Comments are now moderated to keep out spam and those with malicious intent. The author of this blog is not liable for the content of any comments ... period!