**UPDATED** LISTEN NOW! We Is On Radio Humberside!

This morning we were on Radio Humberside talking about cross-border shopping and the Border Force. Dave Atherton was too. As soon as we can get a link to listen again we'll put it up!

When we do, let us know what you think. :)

Presenter James Piekos got it a bit wrong after the piece with us ... he said 20,000 cigarettes were brought in 4 times a year! lol No James, 20,000 a year!

Listen Now Here  Starts with UKBA at 0.08.30 in and we are on from 0.23.19 in and then after us Dave Atherton.


  1. Well done that was a great interview, UKBA must be having blue babies.

  2. First the Times and now Radio BBC Whippet Worrier! N2D.ME is becoming a force to be reckoned with. This 'small single issue' 'stick-the-boot-in blog' is beginning to make its mark. SH, when you get that call from Radio 4 then you'll know you've arrived!

  3. you did great Mick, but I'm still crying over the Cavalier.. Why not invite 'em on a social trip

  4. Fame! Well done, good times! I'll have to listen when I get home from work.

  5. Well done Mick, Great interview.


  6. Fooking brill. ls there nowt you boys carnt do?

  7. Well, video certainly did not kill the radio star!

    Credit where credit is due mate ... outstanding!

  8. Now THAT"S what l'm talking about. No namby pamby crap just l'm a smoker and buy my ciggies abroad, what's your problem. Luv it!

  9. Truly excellent, great listening as I pack for tomorrow's 'booze cruise' to Belgium, and am getting all my paperwork together for the uniformed goons at Dover on my return.
    One point though; one error made in the interview. Kalinngrad is not a Russian enclave - it is in fact a Russian exclave (a portion of territory geographically sperated from the main body of a state). Not that I'm a pedant or anything...

  10. @ Anon 2:30

    Actually it's real name is Königsberg and it's Prussian. The Russians stole it and ethnically cleansed (the Serbs didn't invent that) the native Germans after the war- part of that '2nd Holocaust' no one in the UK knows anything about.

    Not to be a pedant..it's just The Bestes Frau In The World happens to be Prussian and her parents were from K'berg.

    1. Not to ba a pedant Anon 2.30 but that was from Dave Atherton and not us. Dave was not in the studio with Zaphod, he was on the phone from another studio in another city.

  11. Put the boot into the buggers.

    And please put me on your Christmas list :-)

  12. Just got to listen to it. Mick, you were brilliant. Hopefully one day soon you'll get the chance to 'discuss' live with the BF on air...cos you'd slaughter them -with their 'people can appeal' line. And major props for getting in the "N2D.ME" at the end cos 'nothing to declare' wouldn't have told people where to go without googling.

  13. I thought Mick that you ended up sounding blinkered. anyone listening would get the impression that you WERE exploiting a loophole and appeared to not recognise this and be unrepentant. there is a wider world outside this blog. Most of them think that you are wrong. But I expect you'll moderate this view out, as it doesn't fit your world view. the other point was made by the Border Force Gent. Cigs are just one part of their business. they deal with human trafficking, guns and class A as well. The vast majority support this. You ended up sounding like an oddball.

    1. Not on duty today mr anonymous border force ossifer? Nice try but we know you target shoppers because they;re easy targets. Yes cigs are one part of goonies business and tother is baccy! Great interview Mick. kudos

    2. anonymous border force ossifer or Mr Clark

  14. 'Cigs are just one part of their business. they deal with human trafficking, guns and class A as well.'

    all the times i have been interogated by ukba/customs,no mention of drugs weapons,human trafficking ect was mentioned,they concentrate on what amount of cigs/bacca you have in your bags,never had a body search or asked to empty my pockets,in over 20 stops,anyone could carry cigs as a cover for drug smuggling,shoppers are an easy target and easily intimidated and easy way for ukba to hit targets and put notches on their belt.

    great interveiw mick.

  15. Warrior, on a recent baccy run both I and another N2D'er were asked about drugs. They started by asking if I was 'aware that certain items are prohibited in the UK' and then mentioned drugs. They asked if they might xray some of the tins of tubing tobacco specifically to searc for drugs- which I of course agreed to. Infact I said they might xray the whole lot if they wanted.

    The nice BF Officer did go out of his way to point out that the nasty xrays would in no way damage the tobacco!
    That was however the first time I have been asked about drugs directly at a Brit Customs since I was about 18! Also we were coming on the boat from Hoek which was always a drug run. Infact back in the 90's if a brit was onboard that ferry he was either shopping for baccy or hash.

    Might also, of course, have had something to do with the fact that look like I'm a Hash-addict, an 80's survivor.

    1. Never been asked about drugs or anything else in 20 years of coming through UK Customs and neither has Zaphod. l note that they didn't search your person though BD. :)

    2. The 'other' N2D'er was also asked whether they had any GUNS in their luggage! (and were they aware that drugs and guns were illegal in the UK).
      Bet they were relieved that they only found baccy after all. They didn't x-ray it though.
      Glöck, anyone :P

    3. Was asked about firearms when we were stopped at Coquelles last November. By that time I was getting rather nissed off by the stupid questions asked by agent so pointed out that I'd held a Met Police firearms certificate before he was born. That rather got under his skin :-)

  16. Great job. When I was with Piekos on radio he accused me of "cheating" by buying legally abroad as a political protest to the bullying of tobacco consumers.

    I asked him if he would pay to be bullied and he accepted that he wouldn't. Shame he didn't bring that up rather than focus on divide and conquer tactics setting smokers against smokers with the faux moral outrage.

    As for the negative comment above trying to demoralise you Mick, then ignore it. I find an astroturf anti from the Tobacco Control Industry often pops into the blog of someone who has done a good positive broadcast interview to denigrate them in a bid to stop them doing the same again.

    Keep up the good work. I am currently looking at your bus trip crossings as I need a few packs before the next baccy cruise in Oct.

    When they start putting my cig tax (even 83%) into direct patient care, I'll start buying in the UK again. As long as they are feeding the troughers in the Tobacco Control Industry with my money, frankly, they can go forth and multiply.

    How do I join your mini bus club?

    1. As l understand it Patsy, Mr Diekos was not happy with UKBA taking his car to bits. He gave Zaphod a lot of leeway. He did play the devil's advocate but only mildly.

      Bobi is doing the social club and there should be some more details this weekend. x

  17. Mick Just ignore them man, You did a GREAT Job,


  18. That was great. You ever been on radio before?

  19. No, he hasn't. That was his first time but it won't be his last. We have another one lined up for July :)

    1. This swarm is getting organised. Soon we will be a force they cannot ignore. I look forward to the updates. Thanks again on a great job x

  20. That was really great listening. Can you tell us how the interview came about? I wonder if it was part of a sort of pincer movement by the Beeb, what with all the Jimmy Carr controversy raging. Was it because they want to shift the focus onto another tax avoider in society, smokers that rob the NHS? If so, it backfired as from the audience feedback read out there was only one person who didn't support you and she was clearly anti-smoking.

    I didn't like the interviewer much, especially with his 'he brings in 20,000 cigarettes and gives them to his children!' comment (that's probably not his exact words but it's what I heard and I'm happy to be corrected). All that 'but it really feels like it's immoral, mwah mwah mwah' (subcontext - you're a cheating smoker aren't you?) but he then sounded genuinely shocked that you stood your ground and then again at the listener feedback. He was back-peddling at the end.

    It helped that on this occasion, the smoker was the expert (and you are!). The issue itself, avoiding tax, meant that they couldn't put a anti-smoking 'expert' clone up against you. In fact we got two experts, arguing strongly against two of their fronts in the War on Smokers (duty and plain packaging) and that's unusual. Health couldn't come into it because they need our duty!

    Of course, if the interview was instigated by your good selves, then kudos. A win-win. Intel now would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  21. You can only instigate so far and then you wait for a topical news item to come up ... then they invite you along. ln this case it was 2.5 million smuggled cigarettes found in Hull. lnterestingly UKBA don't do 'live' ... their part is pre-recorded which brings limits set by the BBC on what you can and cannot say. We were not allowed to mention recording the excise interviews or the not signing of their notebooks. BBC said that was because UKBA had no means of answering such points.

    UKBA have the means of course and it's called coming on the program 'live' ... something they are avoiding. Wonder why? :)

  22. Sadly our Northmen raiding party were on a rain swept deck in the Humber as the programme was aired.
    We few ,we band of brothers huddled in a door enclosure as we surveyed the emptiness and greyness of the King George Docks our eyes scanning the Customs (Geheimstaatspolizei/GrenzSchutzAbteilung
    Interrogation Block
    Luckily the sad unsmiling unwelcoming UNTEROFFIZIERS
    were dormant,we passed through without molestation
    and drove off for Lancashires flooded paradise
    My regards to those who were unable to be with us
    as for those unwilling
    maybe the next time
    U NO U

  23. "We were not allowed to mention recording the excise interviews or the not signing of their notebooks."

    All of which makes Mick's plug at the end for N2D.ME the more important. Those listeners whose interest was pricked need to know how to find you and get the really important advice ie Record,Record,RECORD-Bobi FOI-SOT-NEVER SIGN.

    Hopefully there'll be some media interest in N2D.SC too soon :)

  24. Hi Everyone.

    Well, my secret identity is thoroughly blown, my name having been used repeatedly on the radio. Doesn't really matter, Customs already know who I am. :-)

    Thanks for the enthusiasm. Argument is one of my few talents. Pity I can't earn a living at it.

    Some people thought the presenter sounded a bit anti, but I think he was just encouraging phone-in comments. I perform best when I'm being challenged, anyway. His mind wasn't closed. It wasn't like arguing with an anti-smoker. From off-mike conversation, I think he was a good guy.

    Re instigation, I believe our ally Dave Atherton deserves the credit. SH can give more details, but he's away on his travels again.

    One day, the Media will discover the real scale of Customs' scandalous behaviour. It'll be an easy scoop for them, if there are any journalists left. I think the Press mostly just regurgitate press releases these days, and they don't like to upset large organisations in case they get cut out of the loop.

    To any new readers,
    Record the whole thing, and don't sign the notebook! Do read the rest of the advice here too, but remember those two points.

    Thanks all.

    (Did anyone say "Encore!)? :-)

  25. The radio show sounded to me like you were singing from the same hymn sheet both UKBA and N2D are against smuggling and both of you want shoppers to be able to prove they are genuine shoppers.

    Having said that i thought the interviewer ran rings around you because having to defend yourself and your shopping habits should have been off limits as you were talking about "advice" in response to bob gaiger UKBA , instead the connection to the large smuggling seizures and hull and your buying habits were somehow made to look dodgy and a loophole

    A worthwhile plug for N2D, but any mention of seizures should be about minimal amounts and customs bullying and not about yourself Zaphod and "advice" should be given at every attempt.

    If bob gaiger had been facing you Zaphod then he would have quite happily discussed 20,000 cigs and the problems it causes to customs till the cows came home without a care that you won.

    You were not in a court defending yourself but in a radio studio supposedly giving advice, the radio show host was little bit cuter than you think and caught you off guard. Luckily there was no UKBA spokesman following your interview because that would have been the perfect wave for him.

  26. My point was, I can bring large amounts for my own use.

    Other people are having small amounts seized, (and their cars!), because they don't know how to defeat Customs' cheap nasty tricks.

    This site contains a lot of solid advice, learned from experience, from a number of contributors.

    The presenter wouldn't let me quote the advice. So I tried to get prospective shoppers to come here.

    Or maybe I was just shooting my mouth off?

    I don't think I did any harm, and I probably did some good. I'm content.

  27. I don't agree with you, Buck. Customs don't "want shoppers to be able to prove they are genuine shoppers."

    They want to justify their existence by ticking boxes and fulfilling their targets. People get hurt.

  28. Bob gaiger gave advice, the show host wanted advice and tips for shoppers yet you were gagged from your advice and instead were put on trial and had to answer questions from the prosecution.

    My advice is avoid "your story" and don't make sweeping statements about the unemployed or that customs don't want to shoppers to prove themselves because the truth is that there is a very thin line sometimes between shoppers and smugglers and everyone knows that it can be a hard job for customs to seperate the two.

    The angle of rouge officers who bully and intimdate and there is advice to help shoppers who may not get a fair hearing at the borders would be my line which is more credible and truthfull instead of UKBA is 100% corrupt and to get gagged and censored which appears to have happened this time.

    I agree it hasn't done any harm and has done some good but advice got left out and a bragging session from you Zaphod was an own goal that should be avoided next time.

    1. I shall be sure to seek your advice in future, (though not on spelling), and maybe I will be able to emulate your success rate.

      Er, remind me... ?

      By the way, Customs can only lawfully seize goods if they are "SATISFIED that they ARE for a commercial purpose", so fine lines don't come into it.

      Not all rogue (sic) Officers bully and intimidate. Many are very friendly until you've signed the notebook. Then they do the evil deed.

  29. Jesus Buck, you talk utter shit

  30. "a bragging session from you "

    It's subjective but IMNSHO Micks Mouthings Off were the best and most effective bit of his piece. As he couldn't give out the advice needed his aim, his goal, had to be to get anyone interested listening to go to the site.

    Its an unfortunate fact of our modern condition that we pay more attention to/are drawn to the passionate, emotional, fanatical 'My Story' than to any amount of logic,debate, fact or reasoning.

    Sure Mick could have spoken in a more dispassionate reasoned manner, or as Buck put it 'credible and truthful' but unfortunately that don't cut it with the twitter generation.

    Clear, unfudged, unequivocal, table thumping "I WAS RIGHT AND THEY WERE WRONG"...that brings home the bacon and the 'hits'. Who the hell listens to reason anymore? The Tobacco Control Industry learnt that lesson years ago...

  31. Congratulations boys, Broadway awaits your talents, Willl it make the Goonies more truthful? Will it force them to stick to the rules? Will genuine Cross Border shoppers go unhindered and return home with legally purchased property they paid their tax on in another EEC STATE?
    Somehow I dont think so, The goonies need seizures to justify their exsistance, No seizures no matter how small, no mater how unjust mean redundancies and the Dole for unqualified illeterates
    My latest blogs highlight the UKBA employees to be institutionally untruthful. Very untruthful, Even in one case to make false claims of being raped, something if true and proven carries LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
    So if they are prepared to lie about that, then lying about a few sleves of cigss would be second nature to them, Knowing they are immune from prosecution, EVEN IF EXPOSED AS PERJURERS

  32. Finally managed to listen to recording. Great stuff :-)

    I don't think any of us is in favour of smuggling but, equally, we all object to being treated as smugglers when we legitimately buy excise goods in the EU.

    I did find the chap from UKBA's claim that all their people were highly trained rather amusing. The chap who stopped us last November certainly needed some additional training as to Channel Tunnel check-in procedures.

    I've seen the UKBA coach on the shuttle but.......

  33. The bacon bought home was that customs appeals work if shoppers get mistaken for smugglers because they have 20,000 cigs, which proves also that customs have a difficult job in working out who is who...a thin line indeed.

    Who exactly said he couldn't give advice out?...because a radio show presenter is more concerned about the mystery voice competition, and which 3 Abba songs mention penguins phone-in following this bit of his show rather than the details of indepth advice for shoppers.

    Was it Bob gaiger/ UKBA calling the shots?

    Come on guys being outraged and bragging over customs and 20,000 fags is bloody daft and plays into the hands of UKBA, the real victims are pensioners with tiny amounts who get harrassed by UKBA bullies probably every day on coaches.

    N2D got a mention...well done, but the rest was a piss poor wasted opportunity.

  34. You may have noticed that I got silenced when I mentioned that Customs seize from the unmemployed, even though the Customs man said that one of the factore was "Whether they are employed"

    The excuse was that they were not present to dispute any claim I might make, (like the notebook never being accurate). Standard procedure, I believe.

    What's your point, Buck? I should have been more pushy, or less? You're not impressing anyone here, so it's a good job it wasn't you on the radio. You come across as a whining complainer. I'm sure you mean well, but you need to work on your personality before you go public.

  35. "I got silenced when I mentioned that Customs seize from the unmemployed, even though the Customs man said that one of the factore was "Whether they are employed"

    This bit of the interview was slightly worrying. I thought there had been a 'judgement', 'ruling' or 'guidance' given out that whether someone is on benefits/a pension is NOT reason enough for the UKBA to assume lack of means?

    Do we need to FOI a 'What guidance is given to officers for the A-J questioning regarding the employment status of suspected shoppers'?

  36. I think instead of all the self congratulatory stuff, we need to recognise that we got turned over. On the back of a large seizure of cigarettes - clearly the work of an organised gang, we then go on - and you - mick - talk about bringing in 10,000 fags a time to give to your kids. The presenter absolutely caned you I thought over this. I think a btter approach is that you need to recognise the difficult job that Customs have to do now, with all of the threats they deal with(not just cigs) but that innocent shoppers are getting caught in the crossfire, then make your valid points.. All this anti customs, "unteroffizier" stuff - it makes you look prejudiced and pretty ill educated, which is clearly not the case. i'd think carefully next time...

  37. Bob Gaiger is nothing more than a spin doctor. Take the change in the guidelines that came into effect on 1st October 2011 (Bob the expert, can't remember this date by the way). His press release on the UKBA website about these changes is a prime example of spin.

    "29 September 2011

    On Saturday 1 October 2011, the minimum indicative levels (MILs) for tobacco and cigarettes brought into the UK from the European Union (EU) will be reduced to 800 cigarettes and 1 kg of hand-rolling tobacco, to align them with levels applied elsewhere in Europe.

    MILs are guide levels set by EU member states to determine whether imported goods are for travellers' own use. There are no limits to the volumes of tobacco that travellers can bring back from the EU, if the goods are transported by them and are genuinely for their own use.

    HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) spokesperson Bob Gaiger said:

    'Law-abiding individuals who genuinely import goods for their own use will not be affected. This change will only affect individuals who are abusing the current limits to avoid paying excise duty on tobacco products which are subsequently resold.' "

    Apart from using the term MILs which is not used at all in the EU Directive on Excise goods, our dear Bob states ABUSING CURRENT LIMITS!

    There are NO LIMITS and he should know that as should the UKBA themselves who allowed this to be published. You'd almost think that they intentionally wanted the public to think the guidelines are actually LIMITS! ;)

    Interestingly, we contacted them to tell them of their error ... we got no response!

    Zaphod did a great job, so much so that a local radio station now wants to discuss with us a program on it. Perhaps we can get one of these UKBA/HMRC experts on it 'live' ?

    Wasted opportunity Buck? ... l think not!

    1. yes Anon 6:22 they did get turned over, Zaphod /N2D appeared dodgy as if they had pulled the wool over customs eyes and got away with 20,000 cigs and were now gloating and bragging how they can do it repeatedly cos they know the loopholes and Zaphod's sniggering came across loud and clear when "legally/rules" were mentioned.

      there has to be a balance of recognising UKBA job which is difficult on cigs smuggling because of the sky high levels of dodgy baccy/cigs on the streets and rouge customs bullies who take advantage of weak shoppers who are almost certainly not going on a costly appeals process and the help they can get from N2D.

      there is most certainly a better approach, and i'm sure i would have been kicking myself over mistakes but i would have never mentioned 20,000 cigs and the unemployed get em seized stuff.

      It's about a more balanced honest tactic of admitting customs aint all bad and you can help shoppers with the ones who let UKBA down which Bob gaiger could only agree with.

      Balance, honesty, a better approach...nope no chance its a vendetta and an axe to grind against UKBA . wind em up and stick two fingers up at them.

      The next show...more of the same, and my guess is that they will hang N2D as "helping smugglers"....your expert advice isn't the draw for radio stations or they would have let you give it , the dodgy geezers website about getting one over on customs is a lot more interesting.

    2. Haha, do you think posting as anon fools anybody?

  38. Just arrived back in London from a baccy-buying coach trip to Belgium, no stop, no problems at Dover (noticed other coaches were not so lucky), but last time I went out (April) I took a wad of N2D greetings cards, handed them out to 100% positive response.
    Not so this trip.
    Took cards, handed them out, got nearly all (all bar two, in fact) returned. Have UKBF won the propoganda war?
    Hardly. Everyone else said they already knew the site and were regular visitors, several others were already prepared with documentation.
    Word is definitely getting out!

  39. Mick, ignore Buck (aka anon), you did a superb job. By stating the amounts you have brought in, it shows that it isn't the amounts that are the problem, it's the tactics Border Force are using. l noticed all the callers were supportive bar one. N2D got lots of plugs so the listeners who were interested would come and see for themselves what it's all about. A job well done sir. Keep it up.

  40. I suspect that anon and buck are trying to unnerve you chaps and put doubts in your minds.

    As we know, UKBA ought not to be stopping UK citizens at all unless they have ADVANCE knowledge of evil intent. Its called 'free movement'. The UKBA ought not to stop people 'on suspicion' and are not allowed to search for evidence 'on suspicion'.

    Tobacco products are just 'goods', just like any other goods which people buy in EU countries as EU citizens. If you say that buying tobacco in the EU is 'cheating' on tax, then you must also say that taking a foreign holiday is 'cheating'. Also, tobacco duties are not somehow ring-fenced for health care - they just go into the pot, like road taxes. They pay MPs' expenses and fund ASH ET AL.

    Mick - you said it as it is. You were strong and direct. You did great. As you said, you've paid tax all your life and have nothing to be ashamed of (that is what the likes of Buck are trying to do - make you feel ashamed).

    As for all this stuff about firearms and drugs and people trafficking, it is so much hot air. We are members of the EU and are supposed to have free movement between countries (along with our goods)provided we have a valid passport which identifies us. This has been tested in court and found to be so.

  41. @Junican

    Can't agree that stuff about firearms, drugs & people trafficking is so much hot air. These are areas where we should all support the UKBA.

    My sole argument with the UKBA is when they target innocent EU cross border shoppers who are simply exercising their right to bring back goods for personal use.

    Personally I'd rather SWMBO stopped smoking but, as that's unlikely to happen, I want to be able to go to Adinkerke once every 6 months and bring back her supplies without being treated like a 77 year old criminal.


"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!