Thursday, 29 March 2012

Border Force Go On Charm Offensive

We've been away for a few days on Hull P&O Ferries to Zeebrugge. We didn't get any of the silly security at Hull where they have been searching for any alcohol you may be taking aboard. Not that it really matters as we always get our JD through anyway. Met up with some old friends ... Warrior and crew along with some newbies he brought along ... great gang to be with and now we have some new friends. Also there were the Hordes of the North and they never fail to entertain.

Next day, Warrior and crew offered us a lift to Adinkerke which we gratefully accepted. They left us in Adinkerke after they'd made their purchases as we were meeting Peter Ameloot of Real Tobacco. Peter showed us round his operation and then took us to lunch at the sunny seaside. Peter is doing all he can to inform shoppers of their rights and many more shoppers are now prepared for the tactics often used by Border Force (UKBA). Was very impressed with Peter's operation and the way he keeps prices down for shoppers. They even have a petrol station where the price of fuel was lower than anywhere else as he sells it at virtual cost.

We decided to take the coastal tram (Kusttram) back to Zeebrugge. The journey took just over 90 mins but was very enjoyable and at only €3 was exceptional value. We got off at Zeebrugge Strandwijk and walked around the corner to the bar Monte Carlo (h/t Bobi). Many shoppers meet here before going on to the ship. The bar itself can resemble Star Wars Bar at times but it is very friendly. They'll arrange a taxi for you and it cost us €5 to get to the ship.


We'll go to Ostende next time round as that is only 30mins or so from Zeebrugge. lf you've done Brugge once it's enough, anymore visits and it soon becomes ultra boring! We will of course be going to Adinkerke too but as that is further, you can only realistically spend a couple of hours there.


We had another enjoyable night on the ship and the next morning we prepared for the reception committee at Hull by the Border Force. We'd had reliable reports that they were questioning passengers at passport control and asking where they had been and more worrying ... if they'd bought any tobacco. This information was radioed down to the Customs Area where they were waylaying passengers. So we were prepared for this and were going to ... let us say ... 'voice our concerns at passport control'.


So, after disembarking the ship we approached passport control. Zaphod went to one desk and me another. They did indeed ask questions ... "How are you today?' ... and they meant it! Not only that ... they were smiling and the smiles were genuine! WTF?


We then went on to Customs Control to find there was nobody there! Maybe l'll wake up tomorrow and find it was all a dream but for now ....


Thank you, Hull Border Force ... it's nice to be welcomed back to my own country by happy smiling faces. 


Perhaps Carling really do baccy trips? :)

11 comments:

  1. They knew you were coming Smokey so they put out the red carpet lol

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  2. Glad everything went peaceful for you boys, We in Portugal and its RAINING, Tobacco making a heavy jump on 1st April from 52.50 to 61 for 500g Ciggies up 2 euro a carton to 43 euro - 46 euro
    Drum up from 56Euro for 50g to 50 euro for 40g.
    Hope George gets the same gentlemanly treatment from the UKBA when we get back to Scotland.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed Real Tobacco - their latest store is very posh. We've used Eurobaccy across the road for years - ever since Eastenders vanished.

    Just planning next trip for mid May - thro' tunnel using Tesco vouchers.

    Well prepared after the officious little git we ran into last November. He couldn't get his head round the fact that one doesn't need a ticket for Chunnel (ANPR) and there's nothing strange about a 76 year old not having a job.

    One good thing was that his actions brought me to this site

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  4. Could this be the Lul before the storm with Border farce.

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  5. The only alien lifeforms in the Monte Carlo Bar are from Rotherham

    Glad you had a good trip
    bobi

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  6. Portugal off the shopping list then George ... more business for the ex-communist bloc!

    Welcome onboard John the Nadger

    Border Farce will live up to it's name, Anon

    Cheers Bobi

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  7. "Tobacco making a heavy jump on 1st April from 52.50 to 61 for 500g"

    That's quite a hike but then again ₤6 a pouch is still not expensive when compared to the UK price-which if it isn't ₤10 more a pouch already will no doubt be in the autumn budget.

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    Replies
    1. We are now back from Portugal and in need of a holiday BD, We managed to top up with some pre increase price GV @ €52.50 A HALF KILO BUT HARD TO FIND IN POPULAR TOURIST AREAS. Airport shops still had supplies when we left. Most shops on the Albuferia strip asking €61 for 500 Gms.

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  8. another good time had by all,great to meet zaphod,very interesting fella,great comapny both of you.
    As this was one of the last 2/4/1 offers i expected the ukba to be out in force,but no problems at all,see you all in october.

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  9. It's always great to meet other rebels on these trips!

    I was prepared for the Customs tactic of questioning at passport control. A variety of responses were in my mind. When he said, "How are you today?", I had to pause and reboot, rather than snap, "What business is that of yours?" I eventually said, "Fine?" and then just got what looked like a genuine smile!

    I wonder if they've been warned about all this recording? Maybe they're sulking, working to rule til they get given the power they used to pretend that they had?

    A great trip, excellent company; and Peter at Real Tobacco is a true entreprenuer who believes in looking after his customers. (And his staff.) I like that guy. He deserves continuing success.

    Like I said above, met some entertaining, real people on the ship. Best part of the whole thing. We are not alone!

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  10. I am sure the information has filtered through to the brain dead Goonies, "You are a public servant ~~~Act like one".

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"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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