Reworking the Site in Progress

NO Posts Whilst Site Is Being Updated 
Keep Calling Back ... l'm On With It Now!

Since we first started so much has changed and we've learned so much more. This being the case l'm going to rework the site as the info is all over the place, some is out of date and some is buried. l intend to try and rectify that over the next few days so bear with me whilst l do.

In the meantime here is the advice we recently distributed on our baccy mini-cruise. lt's entitled

Don't Be Wrongly Branded A Smuggler

Looking back, it has to be said that this was one of our defining moments. We'd always wondered how much power HMRC/UKBA actually had and the only way to find out was to test it. This we did (and are still doing) and then we decided to up the ante. Our motto from then on was and still is :-

Publish and be Damned

From our archives, a defining moment (30,000 views now!) :-


  1. That leaflet should be printed off glossy with pics and be available on every single ferry, coach and plane to Baccy-Land.

    Excellent, succinct and well written.

    Other websites and blogs should link to it.

    If printed off it could use a simplified SOT on the back for shoppers to fill on the return ferry.

    Online versions could link to the 'how much will I save' calculators etc

  2. Thanks SBC. Yes that's what l intend to do and then have links to important/interesting docs and downloads for those that want more detail.

    Have to say that Zaphod was in fine form when he went up against these 4 UKBA wallahs. :)

  3. SBC ... To get info like this on ferries l have to convince them they are fighting smuggling. l'm beginning to believe that HMRC/UKBA are restricting supplies to the feryy companies. None of the ferry companies have any bottle so it needs some form of rethinking of how to sell tobacco etc on their ships to legal cross-border shoppers. lt has to be something that smugglers won't like and l'm thinking along the lines of pre-order with ferry booking reference, points card, paper trail blah, blah.

    Smugglers definitely don't like paper trails :)

  4. The Adinkerke Chamber Of Trade (whatever it's called) should sponsor the printing off of these leaflets and ensure it is placed in every Baccy shop in the town.

    It's their livelihood and it's about time they started to fight back.

    Don't know if anyone has contacts to them or could email the burgermeister ?

  5. Webbie from Daytripper seems to have contacts. He's got the leaflet and is seeing what he can do with it. ln the meantime l'll make enquiries of our own.

  6. Great leaflet smokey. kudos

  7. That was Zaphod SH? God my heart was in my mouth and my tummy was fluttering as I listened. What a couragous man he is. Even having the balls, as he has, and the knowledge it is a daunting task for the ordinary citizen to tackle these people.

    I hope, in my fighting of the smoking ban, that I match up to his valour.

    Cudos and respect Zaphod.

  8. As a mattter of interest the Legion of the Defiant
    have opened up another front
    "The Battle of the Bulge" in
    the pursuit of fair prices.
    All in one day,by air,,,£40 from
    the North

    N2D will get some info shortly

    Howzabout a last farewell trip
    Hull-Zeebrugge before Christmas
    hopefully including some of
    the southern electronic Ghosts
    if chilly they can share my rug ?? ? ?

    See you all AFT

    CiC Red Rose Gulag

  9. Back yesterday from a Brugge mini-weekender. Nothing to report from trip side, really - waved through at Calais onto the train, between four of us we had 14 kilos HRT and 1200 fags, not hidden, not an eye blinked, no problems, BUT...
    ...we went by coach, as we entered Belgium our host stood up and made a little speech over the tannoy, telling us that BY LAW we were only entitled to 1 kilo of HRT per person, that THE LAW had been changed on Oct 1st, anyone carrying over that amount WOULD have it taken by HMRC and that we may find that shops will refuse to sell over that amount as these limits were now THE LAW - I think I counted no less than nine references to LAW, LEGISLATION or LEGAL in a two-minute speech.
    When I challanged him on this total rubbish, he said he 'didn't know about that', he was just reading a letter that had been sent to the coach operators by HMRC and that he had been told he had to read it out on every continental coach trip.
    A letter of enquiry about this is going to the coach company's HQ, and HMRC, later today. If true, surely this is fraud and misrepresentation in law?

  10. Well Done Duncan! The coach company can legitimately say it is their policy to stick to these new guidelines but they certainly cannot say it is the law.

    Look forward to their reply. Perhaps you could ask for a copy of this HMRC letter?

    Nice one, Duncan .... kudos!

  11. Dunc, were you with Coliseum Coaches? They head their website with "
    Any persons found in breach of UK customs allowance (800 cigarettes, 200 Cigars or 1KG of smoking tobacco) will be left behind if caught smuggling and detained by UK customs. Coliseum Coaches will not be held liable for any extra costs involved in return travel nor will offer any refund."

  12. SBC ... I've e-mailed them pointing out their error. l await their response. lf they don't respond ... this site will. :)

  13. "l await their response."

    That should be interesting. The UKBA are obviously pressuring coach companies to collude in their campaign against legitimate shoppers...because no coach company would voluntarily cut its own throat by making false representations to their customers- ie a mere kilo of baccy isn't worth the coach ticket.

  14. SH, you really to expand this blog's remit and size to include email/petition campaigns against COLLABORATING COMPANIES (and we all know what the Resistance did with Collaborators and 'Jerry Bags').

    P&O, Coliseum, The Adinkerke Chamber Of Commerce etc etc

  15. edit* "really NEED to expand"

  16. Ha ha SBC ... Coliseum are merely attracting our attention at the moment ... well maybe in our sights. We've got other things going on that we can't talk about yet. Adinkerke? ... mmmmmmmmm :)

  17. No, I was with L J Edwards of Hailsham, East Sussex. I've had a reply from them, they said that HMRC had only informed them of the new guidelines and the coach host had 'got it wrong'; they added that all staff will be reminded that the new rules are guidelines only and have no force in law.
    And, naturally, I asked for a copy of the letter, which now does not seem to exist. I have seperately e-mailed HMRC asking them about it, and if they will confirm whether or not they have ever sent anyone a letter stating that the new guidelines had the force of law, and if they will confirm to me that neither UK nor EU law changed on October 1st, and unlimited baccy and drinkies can still be brought in, so long as it is not for a commercial purpose.
    At least I will have a letter from their bosses to wave under their noses next time I travel, probably early next year now, but I may make a special trip just to buy Christmas baccy pressies, just so I can be stopped with over the guidelines, having recently travelled to Belgium, and with about eight different brands of HRT and ciggies with me, just so I can use the nose-letter-wave trick

  18. Nice one Dunc! 'got it wrong'...oh yeah... :)

  19. Again, thanks Duncan. You're doing a sterling job. Keep this up and we'll have to give you a promotion! :)

    l agree with SBC, this 'got it wrong' is becoming a standard get out clause. l've had the same today myself but can't write about it yet.

  20. Very interesting listen, both episodes. Gotta laugh at the droid like repeated responses of the ukba officers. Thanks to your inspiration, I too held my ground recently although in different circumstances - I get regularly stopped by police when walking to my 24/7 shop late nights (I live in central London) say 1-2am, I'm self employed & work from home & nite time work is often most productive.

    So a few times I've been stopped by police under the usual false excuses (this is a drugs area or there's been a fight nearby). Last time I said I'm not obliged to give you my details unless you have grounds for arrest but I'm happy to answer your questions ... "I'm going to my local to buy some late night snacks".

    BTW, I'm nearly 50 but as I mostly always dress in non-50yo-like clothes (i.e. bald head & hoodie as it's cold lol), I'm a target.

    They were intially taken aback but at least they realised I knew my rights not to reveal my name or address. Still they insisted on a fruitless search.

  21. Also got a letter yesterday from my MP, saying that the Treasury have had a reply from HMRC about their (lack of) knowledge regarding what they do with the cars they seize and why they seem to be haapy with selling them at under a quid each; she says that the reply is 'not complete' (well, there's a surprise) and she wants to check it is accurate (I wouldn't advise her to hold her breath while she does that) before sending the full reply to me.
    Reading between the lines, I think that she has received a standard fob-off letter, is aware of the fact, is none to happy about them sending such to an MP, but doesn't want to go in guns blazing on a department of her own government and, quite possibly, get a black mark from certain influential quarters of the Tory party.
    I hope to have a letter to share with you nice people in the next few days, though!

  22. You've definitely earned your stripes there Duncan. Well done, that man! Kudos!

  23. "You've definitely earned your stripes there Duncan"

    I, for one, hope to see some whole articles here from him soon detailing his battles.

  24. Don't really consider that I've had any real 'battles' at least not with HMRC (I am, however, a life-long Millwall supporter...). I always have, and always will, fight my corner, being a fully-qualified lawyer of the Barrack Room variety and have a massive psychological problem in backing down to bullies, threats and jobsworths, and when all three are combined in one polyester uniform...
    All I have done is refuse to be intimidated when stopped by HMRC; I have never had goods confiscated, and only once had a full-on interview, and then I was on a coach where everyone got the treatment. I may well give a detailed report of that little incident, because as a direct result of that I found this merry little community, and can now back up my pig-headedness with actual facts and quotes - but, in all honesty, given the choice, I think sheer pig-headedness is more likely to win the day with HMRC than truth, the law and facts.
    I am amazed that more people don't write letters of complaint, demand information from HMRC (and other government departments), appeal every decision made against innocent shoppers, make official complaints against individual staff who enjoy their work too much, demand that their MP takes up the matter on their behalf, and copy in the local papers when appropriate.
    So long as people are quiet and docile nothing will change. A handful of vocal complainers can change the mind-set of opinion-formers, journalists jumping on what they see as a popular bandwagon, MPs wanting to curry a few extra votes, front-line HMRC staff being much more nervous about bullying random members of the public when more and more of them bite back, ect.
    I'm doing no more than anybody who bases their approach to life on a cross betweem Victor Meldrew and American Dad would do!

  25. l agree with almost everything Duncan except l think being pig-headed needs the facts/law to back it up and vice-versa. One is not much good without the other when you are dealing with the HMRC/UKBA.

  26. "(I am, however, a life-long Millwall supporter...)."

    Which explains much-mainly the demonicness- and you have all our sympathies.


  27. Why is Duncan chasing the myth that cars were sold for under a quid - did he not read the 'k' alongside the figures in the FOI reply which indicated 'thousands' of pounds and comes out with a much different figure?

  28. humoured ... because in the original FOI reply they did indeed state that the vehicles were sold for an average of 66p each. They missed the 'k'.

    However, they then made matters worse by stating that they don't know how many vehicles were auctioned, scrapped, returned to their owners on appeal or how many returned to owners after payment of fine/duty.They hold no data on this.

    l'm sure Inland Revenue allow all secondhand car dealers to produce accounts like this! :)

  29. you might be interested in this then:

  30. humoured ... you're a bloody star! We really appreciate our readers doing stuff like this. You've found us specific information that was refused under an FOI using Sect 31. lt seems from your link that UKBA don't process excise seizures and it is still HMRC according to Damien Greene. Jeez what a bloody maze ... no doubt intentional :) If you find anything more, please inform us. Thanks again.

  31. Interesting that it was the MP for Dover asking. Has the honorable member suddenly decided to be an upstanding member for his town and the businesses therein? It surely won't be out of concern for legitimate shoppers...

  32. humoured...although I asked about the 66p figure provided by HMRC, and used it as an example, the main part of my letter to my MP was to ask how HMRC (or any other government department) can simply claim not to have any idea, nor any records, of what money they have coming in from the sales of seized cars, nor keep any records of how many are returned, nor of the reasons for seizures.
    By the figures that they supplied themselves, for years the average sale price of seized cars has been under £50, and what figures they do provide for sales (returns and numbers sold) simply don't make much sense; smething which my MP agreed with.
    Also, they have stated that they don't keep records, even today, of numbers of vehicles sold, numbers returned, or how much is received from these vehicles, as the auction company keeps all the records, they simply get a cheque, for an unspecified number of vehicle sales, and that is that. But now the parliamentray answer you have linked to seems to show that that is also inaccurate information sent out by HMRC.
    Granted, the 66p figure may be wrong (but so many figures have been given by them, it is impossible to say which one is the most accurate, if any) but at the very least it shows an extreme lack of competance in HMRC that they send out incorrect figures in FOI replies, and give different information in their official tax returns, in replies to FOI requests, to MPs and to the treasury.
    Hopefully, by exposing these 'errors' (let's be polite here!) to scrutiny by the public and MPs, some sort of enquiry will be launched or, at the very least, such blatant waste of public monies and incompetance by public officials will be ended from here on.
    Well, I can hope!

  33. humoured ... l see it the same way. Although HMRC did supply a correction to the figure one really cannot have any confidence in any figures supplied by them unless they have detailed accounts to back them up.

    Relying on Del Boy's mate,Boycie, for these accounts is a sick joke. l don't suppose they detail any kickbacks? :)

    SBC, Alas it seems our MP in Dover, Charlie Elphicke (one could have fun with that name) is a UKBA supporter. ln a reply received from him (h/t Justine), he states :- "I am interested in the loss to the Exchequer that is avoided by the work of the UKBA at Dover. My suspicion is that the officers at Dover more than pay for themselves and I want to be able to make the financial case for them."

    WTF? Losses? ... what about all the cross-border shoppers losing their cars and tobacco/cigarettes!

  34. SH, it was too good to be true. Did you really think an MP would be standing up for shoppers (and by extension the port and the ferry companies)?

  35. SBC ... I understand Justine has wrote back to him explaining the cross-border shoppers predicament. She'll tell us if she gets a reply.
    Bets being placed now. :)


"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!