Border Force/HMRC SCAM!

Sorry about the delay folks but we got into discussions with a top law firm that deals with fighting Border Force and HMRC. The discussions were very helpful and clarified a lot in regards to the illegal tactics used by Border Force ... aided by HMRC.

Here is what is happening. Despite raw tobacco leaf being totally legally to imported by companies, Border Force now have a policy of seizing raw leaf. Now raw tobacco leaf is NOT a tobacco product so it is NOT subject to Excise Duty. This being a fact means that Section 139 of CEMA cannot be used to seize the raw tobacco leaf ... and that is a fact too!

So, what Border Force (or l should say the Revenue Fraud Detection (RFDT) Team at Dover) have come up with is to seize it under Sect 170(b) of CEMA. They put on the "seizure" notice "The goods have been acquired with the intention of fraudulently evading payment of excise duty"

This is a serious allegation because it is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE and you can get 7 years in prison for it. Of course being a criminal offence gives you all the rights of PACE. You should be "interviewed under caution" with the interview being recorded as they put these allegations to you along with all the factual evidence to back these allegations up. This is needed because when you are in court charged with this offence the proof of guilt is "beyond reasonable doubt". This is totally different to going to court under 139 of CEMA where the offence is CIVIL and any judgement is made on the basis of "the balance of probabilities".

Border Force have to have evidence that you intend to fraudulently evade the payment of excise duty AT THE TIME OF SEIZURE. They can't seize the goods in the hope of getting evidence at a later date because that would be unlawful.

So, there you are ... your goods have been seized but at least you have the rights of PACE to fall back on ... WRONG! You DON'T get any of that ... Border Force simply run away and hide in their Ivory Towers with not a hope in hell of you actually talking to them. All you are left with is the usual written request for Restoration or Claim Against Seizure that we are all too familiar with. The replies you get from them are the well known standard letters that we refer to as "Coffee Machine Replies".

We've followed a few of these cases and only one is actually due in court. We even went to this case to see how the charges of 170(b) would be brought and when the actual case would be heard. You can imagine our amazement when we found that there is NO mention whatsoever of 170(b) ... WE WERE BACK WITH 139 CEMA! WHAT THE FUCK?

You CAN'T use 139 of CEMA against raw tobacco leaf because 139 of CEMA is for excise goods and raw tobacco leaf is NOT subject to Excise Duty.  Sadly, the defence solicitor did not seem able to grasp this. BAH!

Some of you reading this may have difficulty understanding it all too so let me put it like this so you will understand.

Lets say you are a suspected drug dealer and the Police believe they have evidence of you dealing drugs. Instead of raiding your premises to gather more evidence and arresting you ... they WAIT & WAIT UNTIL they can seize some of your supplies SHOULD they come across supplies addressed to you ... and that's ALL they do. These supplies are not illegal drugs in themselves but when processed could be. If you are getting other supplies that are not addressed to you   because you are buying them from sources where you simply pay cash and pick them up yourself, then your supplies will not be under threat. The Police will just let you carry on of suspected drug dealing just as before albeit you lost a little bit of money with the supplies that were seized. NOT only that, but if you don't contest the seizure then you DONT even have to go to court. Your seized supplies will just be destroyed and thats the end of the matter ... period!

That's EXACTLY what Border Force are doing except it is a lot more sinister. You see when these legitimate leaf companies have a shipment seized then all future shipments will also be seized because they've already had a shipment seized and it is on record as such. It's Catch 22. Those of us who have knowledge of Border Force court cases know it can take a year or more to come to court. In that time none of these legitimate leaf companies can trade because they can't get any stock. These companies will cease to trade.

To be honest, l doubt any of these seizures will see a day in court. l fully expect Border Force to drop the case just before they are due in court. We've seen them do it many a time. That's if the companies Appeal Against the Seizure to begin with ... some won't because they are scared to do so such is the 'intimidation and harassment' applied by Border Force.

But it goes further than that. Early next year we shall see the Control of Raw Tobacco regulations come in. A big part of these regs will be that anyone wanting to deal in raw tobacco will have to register with HMRC. EXCEPT they won't allow you to register if you have had any raw tobacco seized. lf a company didn't appeal against the seizures they had ... they're screwed! lf a company did appeal against the seizures ... they're screwed too because they are still waiting to go to court.

Border Force have no regard at all for justice, laws or the regulations ... and have zero integrity! They are a pale pale shadow of their predecessors Her Majesty's Customs. We had respect for HMCE, WE HAVE NONE FOR BORDER FORCE.

They both belong in a Banana Republic!


  1. Replies
    1. No props Jack ... you think BF can't sink any lower then this comes along. They really are 'Not fit for purpose'.

  2. Great Post. Thank you for the insight. But what does this mean for those of us who currently buy leaf? Is it over?

  3. Ah... that'd be AKA UKBA who generated so much work for the Ombudsman that they were erm... disbanded then rebranded to Border Force who have racked up an impressive number of complaints since they changed the badges... HERE

    Your taxes at work - there's some interesting tidbits in the Border Force's interactions with the PHSO....

    1. Yep ... we refer to all answers to complaints by Border Force as being done by the Coffee Machine ... and with good reason! :)

    2. That'd be the Coffee Machine that makes it up as it goes along and ignores / flouts The Law while the folk tasked with reining them in do nowt.

      It is perhaps time to wind the clock back 150 years and launch private criminal prosecutions - I think you guys might have some use for that - since if the case is accepted by the court - *all costs* are reimbursed by the state.... CPS can stymie a case but not until after it's reached a court... :-) you don't have to publish this comment if you want to keep the surprise intact.....

    3. Dear Gordon TFPT

      The rebranding of UKBA to Border Force is to kompli with EU regulation. The EU is building its Border Force which our beloved Border Force will be a part of.

      Vote Leave on 23 June.


  4. You are wrong in stating that they do not seem to be applying Sect 170(b) of CEMA in the courts. One case (Amber Services Europe Ltd & Anor v The Director of Border Revenue [2015] EWHC 3665 (Admin) (16 Dec 2015)) has just come out of the Administrative Court, Queens Bench Division where the appellant's (transporter's and UK end customer's) appeal was not upheld. Refer to the following URL:

    Bottom line is that if you bring in tons of tobacco leaves, you are asking for trouble and they will use Sect 170(b) of CEMA against you. You will not succeed in litigation based on the current jurisprudence unless you can find some other loop hole or you know of some other killer blow to use.

    1. Thanks for that. l've long thought that the establishment was corrupt and this certainly supports my belief in my opinion. We'll have to study it but the finall paragraph is telling :-
      "Such an implication is not merely unnecessary, but introduces large gaps for the benefits of those evading duty. Mr Stebbings had to accept that, were his argument correct, no powers of seizure, and only powers of detention not intended or apt for this purpose, would be available to the Respondent before conviction. The goods would have to be waved on their way from the docks. And a conviction is required, not a trial. If consignor and haulier are acquitted and consignee or ultimate consignee cannot be found, there would be no conviction, and so no civil forfeiture, even though on the civil burden of proof, the consignee was guilty of an offence. Parliament should not be taken to have legislated for such results in the absence of clear words."

      My first thoughts ... If this was truly the case then there would be no need for the new regs re Control of Raw Tobacco. Parliament legislated on this on the basis of the presumption of innocence ... the supposed foundation of our legal system. These judges deem otherwise!

    2. One other point ... 170(b) was simply brushed aside.

  5. Hi guys, my goods been seized. Could some one help?

    1. As written on this blog ... go to the forum

  6. Hey Guys,

    Long time no see. Glad to see you are still poking the baddies with a big stick :)
    Just a thought but how about creating a separate heading on the forum for you to use? Might create some support.
    In case you're not up to date with things we've had a few wins lately, mostly from pensioners who have had small amounts seized. Genuine shoppers who have had the balls to put their case together and win. We get a lot of requests by PM from mainly east Europeans who have not appealed and then got a penalty.Currently working on an angle that might be an argument against penalties but that's for private message at this point.
    DaveDog got his case heard finally and won big-time.
    Hull/Zee has got expensive so having to do the horror trip to the tunnel these days.

    Catch up soon,



"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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