So, what makes a Border Force Officer? **UPDATED** **UPDATE 2** **UPDATE 3**

Well in some circumstances it would seem a total lack of ethics and humanity whatsoever.

Read this and weep!

A pensioner is returning home with his yearly purchase of tobacco. He does this every year, the same amount and approximately the same time of year. He's been stopped on previous occasions and interviewed and then allowed to proceed with his legally bought goods. He's never had any goods seized and has never fell foul with the authorities with anything in all his life ... and that includes parking tickets. He's never been on benefits and worked all his life until retirement.

This year his experience is somewhat different. He's stopped in the early morning hours by a female officer along with a senior officer. The pensioner is not well and actually has an angina attack. He asks if the interview can be suspended until a later date when he is feeling in better health. The officers say he can but he must leave his tobacco ... and his car!

He protests but they won't budge so reluctantly he goes through the interview and ends up with his tobacco seized and his car .... despite his bad health and previous history. Unfortunately he did not record the interview but he did refuse to sign the notebook, despite intimidation, because he just felt it was not correct to do so.

These officers even disregarded their own policy on seizing vehicles where it states the following extracts :-

When Restoration Should be Offered

Appendix A: Humanitarian Issues
1. Any humanitarian issues that may arise need to be addressed prior to considering what action may be required under any of the other appendices. This Appendix is intended to assist officers in identifying have the necessary expertise and experience and are able to consider all the relevant circumstances.

The vehicle has been significantly adapted for use by a disabled person and it is clear that they are unable to use public transport to get home; or
Where medication that is required to treat any condition that represents a serious threat to health if it is not administered, e.g. insulin, is at home.

The vehicle is used to transport seriously ill people to hospital for regular treatment (e.g. kidney dialysis) and no viable alternative transport is available in the person’s home town. (my highlights)

3. In such cases the vehicles should be restored free of charge"

Now read on from the pensioner himself :-

"I was then transported and dumped at Folkestone bus station. There are no direct routes re public transport to my home. I finally arrived home at approx 20.30 and by that time was quite seriously ill due to having no insulin since the previous evening.

For your information, l am registered disabled  and suffer from the following :- angina (my heart is actually 65% dead. I'm also an insulin dependant diabetic and - if that's not enough - suffer with Chronic Renal Impairment and arthritis in my hips, toes and thumbs).

Or in medical terms :-

Anterior Myocardial Infarct
Left Ventricular Failure
NYHA class II Heart Failure

Type 2 Diabetes

Chronic Kidney Disease - Stage 3

Furthermore, l need the vehicle for constant visits to the doctor and you should be made aware that there are no direct bus routes from my home. Also l have to transport my partner due to her breaking both bones and tearing all the ligaments in her right leg.

So where is the proportionality and humanitarian grounds that are in their own procedures and policy regarding seized vehicles? These officers disregarded them all."

Is this really what our country has become? No, l'm not saying all officers are like this but there were others there! They, too me, are just as guilty. They allowed this to go on. These people would be the ones who would quite happily be guards at a concentration camp (if anyone dares to leave a comment quoting stupid Godwins hypothetical Law ... l'll delete it!)

Will these officers be reprimanded or held to account? Not a chance ... it's there word against the pensioners because they don't record the interview do they? Their notebook won't touch any of these issues. They'll probably say that the pensioner never mentioned his health and never had an angina attack.

Welcome to the integrity of the humanitarian Border Force! These 2 sicken me ... and the others who let it happen and continue to do so!


The truth of it is that it's wearing us down. We seem to be the only ones in the public domain concerned and the only ones fighting this. l'm tired and if l'm truthful l'm wore out. We turn away no-one and have never charged no-one but the workload is (has) becoming too big. The main cause of this is helping certain people out. We get their cases, print off the relevant documents from them, read them and then think of a course of action. We phone them or write to them, discuss it and then put together an appeal putting in all the research we can find. Then we forward it to them so they can put in the appeal and then we hear nothing! They don't respond to any communication and we've then wasted all that time and effort. lt's taken it's toll l'm afraid. There's only 2 of us after all.

Time for a rethink l believe before l burn out totally. Your thoughts and ideas would be appreciated.


l'm told that this recent tactic of HMRC sending out duty demands is an attempt to get more prosecutions because they've been asked by a Select Committee why they hardly have any prosecutions despite all the seizures? (approx 70,000 per annum). We know the answer of course, their 'evidence' would not stand up in a criminal court.

So they've come up with this. They send out these massive demands for duty BUT they ask you to come in for chat ...  and give you a date and location. The upshot being "Tell us who's the Mr Big and the duty demand you got will go away"

Of course if the goods are for your own personal use they'll just assume you are a criminal who doesn't snitch. HMRC are really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this!

Oh, if you don't get a request to go in for a chat ... they obviously think you are Mr Big OR an innocent shopper who's just collateral damage :)


Persuading the passenger to go and leave his goods. Customs Officer goes on about how long the interview would take, large amount of goods blah blah. What he doesn't say is HMRC will send you a big duty bill and then call you in for an interview anyway! Sorry about the quality but if you turn volume up it should be ok.


  1. The sadistic bastards! When l think of these customs places in Dover and Coqueles l can completely empathise with what Al Pacino said in Scent of a woman.

    “If I was half the man I was five years ago, I'd take a flame thrower to this place, but I'm too damn old

    1. Dear God! What are you saying man? All that tobacco smoke, all at once! The anti-smokers would die of heart attacks en masse! :)

  2. These People are scum.
    John Gibson

  3. ...and yet there are people who think too 'confrontational'.

    The scary thing is that this account, as disgusting in its inhumanity as it was, is still mild compared to some of the accounts that have come SH's way...or Honest George's experience for example.

    What really breaks my heart is that the OAP only found out about this site/got the advice that will keep him, his goods and his car safe after the event. Why aren't the MSM, the OAP groups and charities, the British Legion giving out the advice and raising this issue? They are happy enough to tell the Oldies to always ask to see ID at the door and never to sign anything without getting independent advice.

    1. Because we are smokers my dear BD. They don't want to be associated to smokers ... especially radical trouble causing smokers! :)

  4. Our "allies" are just as guilty. They too allow it to continue with their silence so they can look after number 1. That is to say, themselves.

  5. I will mention Goodwins law, there's a quote that I left at Leg Irons place.....

    "Goodwins Law was used originally to stop people just calling out “You’re a Nazi”, when there was no contextual reason for doing so, not as a tool to stifle debate.

    With regards to the current anti-smoker stance going around at the moment and the whole “denormalisation” of smoking, well, it does bear a striking resemblance to the German Jews in the ’30′s. People forget that it wasn’t just a case of Hitler waking up in the morning and going “Well I hate the Jews, lets kill them”. The process took years, and then when the people were good and ready…..

    The process is being repeated again, this time with people who aren’t a single identifiable group, smokers, drinkers, fatty food eaters, etc, etc. hence making the comparison, slightly tenuous, but still valid from technical standpoint. The major problem that we have at this point is that too many people will follow any order given to them by any person with a perceived position of authority, so when the order comes for the persecution of any groups that those in charge do not like, the masses will follow without question."

    This holds in this position


  6. SH, my idea is that if you are burning out then STOP. No one is helped by you/Zaphod wearing out. If someone contacts you then give them advice, tell them what to do IN GENERAL but don't get involved further with researching and writing the actual appeal.

    You need to write a definitive guide to Appealing/'What to do when the you finally do get home without your tobacco' and then direct all enquirers to that. Assuming they didn't record then the first step would be, for example, the very next morning to fire off an SAR.

    1. Posted by The Blocked Dwarf on July 18th.
      "definitive guide to Appealing/'What to do when the you finally do get home without your tobacco".

      This is a bloody good idea, Any chance it will happen before the October Mini Cruse season Starts


  7. Take a tip guys...You've become victims of your own success. You need to get off the treadmill and realise you can't do it all on your own or you'll burn out like a lot of successful people do!.
    The solution is either take on the high profile cases only and get press coverage or treat it as a business and employ somebody. I'm thinking you must have a heavy caseload these days and a contribution for specialist advice would not be unreasonable as much as it goes against your principles.
    My first step would be to setup a website which is easier to navigate, and a forum where people can chat about there experiences and ask questions. You've gone to all the expense and hard work of setting up the social club-take a step back and have a think

  8. This is one where a charge of 'Misconduct in Public Office' might stick. The Officers appear to have ignored their own regulations.The problem with this is where do you go. If it were the police who acted n this manner you go to the IPCC, there is no equivalent for HMRC/UKBA. Their complaints procedure is a joke, manned by a coffee machine called Penfold. First stop might well be you MP, or the Attorney General, or anyone else who might listen.
    The situation is definitely getting worse. We use FOI's to get hold of the regulations only to find UKBA totally ignore them.
    This latest set of tactic changes , Regulation 18 and the ignoring of regs regarding restoration marks a new low. It is having the desired effect of scaring the shit out of potential cross-border shoppers, band together, don't take your own car and spread the word about this site.

  9. I really find this incident worrying as I've always felt that my medical condition would at least make the car safe.

    Just proves how wrong one can be when dealing with UKBA.

    I'd like to reduce our trips to once a year but have felt that doubling the amount of cigs & baccy might lead to problems.

    I think the suggestion about a members forum should be pursued as the software is freely available.

  10. You should charge people otherwise they will take the piss. lf people really want help they'd have no objections to paying for the help. That way if they bail on you the money can still be used to good effect and your time is not wasted.
    Just get them to donate to the social club or something.

  11. The problem is a single case in magistrates court will cost at least £500 , and whatever UKBA charge if you lose. We haven't got that sort of money. However with the imposition of Regulation 18 it is going to make more people appeal. Nearly all the case law is based on judgements by District Judge Grey at Dover, we need some crown court precedents , especially on on UKBA not following their own regs. When challenged UKBA have simply given up in the few cases where we can prove they did not follow the manual..
    True we need a fighting fund but try and find a lawyer who knows the first thing about Customs Law, you're ok if its section 170 (criminal) but try finding one for a civil Schedule 3 case

    1. If you have successfully used a solicitor in a Schedule 3 case, or restoration of car or (very unlikely) a regulation 18 case please let me know
      any help more than welcome

  12. Bobi
    I was under the impression that the IPCC can investigate UKBA officers who are using "police-like" powers eg when detaining or seizing goods.

    1. I'll contact them and find out. It would be most helpful if they can investigate such power abuse.

    2. "It would be most helpful if they can investigate"-bobi

      Too bloody true it would! Although the IPCC do not inspire confidence, it would be a really useful 'threat'-especially if one has been recording as one should. The THREAT of an investigation is nearly always more effective than the investigation itself.

      Let us all know what you find out please.

    3. IPCC are the people who are meant to investigate UKBA/UKBF/whatever they want to be called this week, in a whole range of 'serious' offences, at least three of which are covered in this case.

      Gives full details.

    4. Thank you A nony mouse verry very veery useful!!!! I'll put the complaint to them and see how far we get

    5. However if you follow the links it takes you to the 12A page on the HMRC site. Complain DIRECT to IPCC not UKBA would seem to be the advice....
      Lets see how far we get!!!

    6. Office of the IPCC for London and South East is at London & SE office

      Customer Services : 0300 020 0096 (press 1 at prompt -9.00am - 5.00pm)

      Switchboard: 0300 020 0096 ( press 2 at prompt - 9.00am - 5.00pm)

      Please note for our joint protection and training purposes calls may be recorded

      Mincom: 020 7404 0431 Fax: 020 7404 0430 email:

      To contact us by letter or fax our details are:
      Independent Police Complaints Commission
      5th Floor
      90 High Holborn
      WC1V 6BH

      Please send all new complaints to the above address
      for other offices

      Like it says please send them your complaints as I for one have no faith in UKBA's Powers Professionalism and Standards Department at Priory Court Dover. They just send out a standard letter and ignore you!!!!


  13. It's ok for you to charge people if needs be. All the info needed for cross boarder shopping is available free of charge on your site.
    If someone comes a cropper I'm sure they won't mind paying for your assistance.
    If you really don't like the idea of charging you could take an upfront fee that could be refundable after a win, just to stop people taking the piss.
    It could be a 'Win, no fee' service.

    You must be putting an awful lot of energy into it though, so charging for what you do is only fair.

  14. The old boy was treated abominably by the UKBA in my opinion. There is no limit according to the treaty of rome if he had paid the duty. They should not have taken his car. that really was criminal and he could have died.

    All the same, with his medical problems he should not be smoking I'm afraid.

    1. Did it really need that last sentence? How he got ill simply isn't relevant. It's how he was treat knowing he was ill.

  15. There are obviously cases where a lot of time and energy have been wasted.
    However, there are many, many cases where the advice given here has been taken and the UKBA have not been able to exercise their evil 'power'.
    I for one have had much more knowledge and confidence in dealing with the UKBA Nazis since regularly following this blog.
    Many thank for the time and effort.

  16. Don't give up guys, I agree with others that maybe it is time to start charging even if it is a nominal amount or as Bucko suggested you refund it on a win.

    If I hadn't found your site I wouldn't be as confident giving people the advice about guidelines vs limits that I give them in my job.

    So I say take a break, gather your strength and keep fighting.

  17. I agree, Guys take a break and come back figthing and charge a fee or membership. Works for me.



  18. My mrs got a section 13 letter the other day, stopped at Hull 5kg hrt
    I've sent an emai to the contact us address on here with more info
    She got to go and answer questions at HMRC

  19. Could Mrs Dirty Rider be persuaded to take an mp3 recorder with her? It'd be hella interesting to see a transcript.

  20. had something like this happen to me a few years ago 1999 in fact,i was dumped in folkestone,luckily by a sympathetic policeman on duty at the tunnel,customs seized my vehicle and beer,told myself,wife and 5 year old son to leave premises,at 11.00pm at night 300 miles from home!
    I am disabled and can barely walk but they took no notice whatsoever.
    This goes on ,on a regular basis,but people dont report it,i hear of lots of cases,and one just recently at hull and another at dover were a pensioner who is disabled had his vehicle seized and told to walk,they dont give a monkeys if your disabled ,ill ect and will continue to seize vehicles from who ever they choose to,if they are given a reason,and that reason the majority of times comes from the passengers own mouth.

    SH ,i sympathise with you,you try to help people and they take no notice and then ask for help when it goes tits up.

  21. as for helping people,how do you help someone who wont help them selves?

    as you guys know,i am wired up to the hilt whenever i travel,but somepeople just wont listen,they say i am overkill and its not needed,i look at them and say, 'Iam not the one who has had 2 cars seized in the last 12 months'
    for the sake of less than £50 get yourselves some decent recording equipment, then these guys stand a chance of helping you out if you have a seizure,a recording of actual events will make it a lot easier if these guys know and hear the full facts.


  22. Re the Vid.

    Which bit of THE OFFICER IS NOT YOUR FRIEND do people not understand?

    He is not your mate. He is not paid to give you friendly advice or swap jokes with you. He is paid to steal your goods from you by any means fair or foul..and if he can't find a reason to seize then he is trained to change tack and try being friendly and hope you'll say something he can twist.

    "that reason the majority of times comes from the passengers own mouth."

    Bobi is absolutely right, that's why N2D stresses using an SOT. If you try and tell your story then you'll end up trying to sell your story and then you are fucked.

  23. I would like to make a suggestion SH. Anyway for what it’s worth here it is.

    I believe you’ve now reached a point whereby you either walk away from this, or better still meet it head-on by setting up your own professional office in your local town. You can approach your local council or county council and ask about premises that will give you a 3 months rent free period for new business start-ups.

    You can then get part-time employees from your local job centre. The job centre will give you money vouchers for those that you take on and give permanent employment to, you will only need a couple whom you of course will train in all relevant aspects of paperwork, protocols, and legal obligations.

    A registered limited company will cost around £100 or less, or you might consider a partnership. You will need to work out your fee structure, not just to cover expenses but give a reasonable profit too. Don’t forget that the money they pay you will always be a lot less than the cost of them losing their goods and having their vehicles seized – and naturally the stress involved for your clients if that happens. Of course you will need, from time to time, to appear in court on their behalf to give evidence.

    Funding can be found for business start-ups through the normal channels, but I would also approach Tobacco Manufacture’s for funding, after all if people can’t afford to buy in bulk here, then it’s in BTs interests if help is given to consumers who wish to keep using their products by buying abroad. Simply put your case to them.

    There is a desperate need for this service of which you are only too well aware.

    1. Thanks for your input JJ and the rest of you guys. I really have no interest in setting up an office and have the burden of rates, wages, council tax, utility bils blah blah blah. I've had enough of that crap and l'm not going back there. l enjoy what l now am ... a free spirit with no ties to anything. l come and go as l please and can move on at a moments notice.

      I've decided that if people want my help then they can donate to the N2D Social Club and let it take the benefits ... and let the accountant sort it all that out. l don't need the money, l just don't want to waste my time for sweet fa.

      All the advice on here is free and will remain so. lf a person gets in touch with a problem, that advice will be free also but if they want me to compose an appeal then that will cost them a donation to N2D Social Club. That goes for court appearances too. l think that's more than fair.

      Thanks again guys :)

  24. Many will have noticed that groups like Help the Aged and Action on Fuel Duty suggest one emails ones MP.

    Would it be possible to compose a suitable email.

    Another thought regards Downing Street petition site and whether it would be interesting to do something there.

    1. You just get waffle back from MP's and petitions are a waste of time. A petition would be an embarrassment anyway looking at the lack of response from the Libertarian lot. lt'd end up like the stupid AWT petition.

  25. I found a good little video and sound recorder in ALDI. It records video in DVD quality, it's about ½ size of a matchbox, can record for a couple of hours, and costed about £ 21.

  26. always carry 2 or 3 ,or in my case 4,ha ha recording devices,dont rely on your phone,these interveiws can sometimes take hours so you need some back up recorders.

    1. Firm believer in using covert and overt recordings together. l use phone as nothing more than a prop. That way if they start playing silly buggers saying l can't record etc blah blah ... l get it all on my covert recorder. Way to go!

    I would flame-thrower them all to death .

  28. Thank you for the read. Honestly you covered the topic and broadly examined all areas. If i was to write this i would have done a few things differently myself but you have definitely inspired me to get into the world of blogging. Thanks heaps for the post i really appreciate it. Have a good day and keep blogging. buy domain in bangladesh


"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!