Extra Tips for dealing with Customs


Justine came up with this idea and l like it. Original post is here. We'll put extra tips here to go with our main advice. So if you've got any tips just pop them in the comments and we'll add them here in the main post.

1. Simple but effective, keep the packaging of your previous purchase and take them with you on your next shopping trip. lf you are stopped on the way back by Customs and they ask how much do you smoke? are your purchases for personal use? etc etc .... you can show them!


Cut off back of ciggy pack to show barcode/duty paid label/branding 


Cut baccy pack to leave barcode/duty paid label/brand


Some people are just using the duty paid labels they've cut off their used cig/tobacco packets. Personally l prefer the above method as l don't trust Customs to understand what the duty paid labels are all by themselves.
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2. Record all your stop and searches where you are carrying no excise goods.Customs won't record it so you should. Customs will use previous trips wrongly as 'evidence' of purchasing tobacco etc whenever they can. They assume that every time you travel, you buy tobacco etc, By recording stops by Customs when you didn't buy any tobacco etc stops them using this tactic against you.

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3. Don't take your own car on the ferry when purchasing your tobacco etc. Try to get a mate/acquaintance that is taking their vehicle who doesn't buy tobacco etc. Book separately and go on as foot passengers.  Taking your own car makes you a Hostage to Fortune.


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24 comments:

  1. Customs make a big issue of the number of times you travel. They like to infer that on all your previous trips you must have brought tobacco back. How many times do you hear of them saying something like ' You say you didn't bring anything back on previous trips ut when we stop you you've got such and such amount. We dont believe you. You must have brought back tobacco on previous trips'

    They make it up because when they do stop you and you have nothing they invariably dont write it down and record it.

    Play them at their own game. lf you come back with nothing say you were stopped. There is no record of it so they can't prove a negative.

    l keep details of all my travel in back of my passport and also the times l've been stopped and what l've brought back even when l've brought nothing. l know it's not exactly truthful to say l've been stopped but neither are they truthful. l see nothing wrong in doing it.

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    1. Your right there mate. l went on a mini-cruise with our lass. When we got back to Hull the goonies stopped us and xrayed our cases but we had nothing. They didnt look at our passports or nowt. They just told us to go. They didnt write nowt down and they couldnt have done after we'd gone either cos they didnt know who we were

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  2. They really should document EVERY stop and search. l myself, along with my sister, was stopped at Hull in the Merc. We also had no tobacco goods but did have cases of wine and JD. They were simply not interested in the alcohol.

    l had to force them to document the stop and search. l now have it recorded on their database along with a reference number and a comment that states:- "Nothing of interest to Customs".

    l do personally record every stop and search and it's true that they don't record it if you are carrying nothing or very little. lndeed, if you don't go through the full interview process they are not required to do so. Yet, if you bring back goods on a future trip and are stopped and searched they do use your previous travel against you. l find that perverse, especially so if they've stopped you before and NOT recorded it.

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  3. Don't take your car because Customs can and do seize it for the flimsiest of reasons. They do this whether they are right or wrong and as SH has said before they call this disruption. lt's done to cause as much grief to you as possible so you wont shop abroad agin. What we do is we have a mate who takes a people carrier to buy wine and stuff and not baccy. We take our cars down to terminal and go on as foot passengers and we've booked seperately from him. At other side he takes there and back from baccy shops and we give him a few euros each for it. He then drops us off as foot passengers for trip back. Once back in UK we get off and go to our car and he goes off by himself. Lots of ways you can do this a different way but what it means is that Customs dont get their grubby little mitts on your car. lf you take your own car l think youre an idiot.

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    1. i am a coach driver,,what you are saying,the customs are reading,,they are trying to stop that,, if you get stopped, and they find out you are a foot passanger,, the english and french will arrest you for smugging, from belgium into france then france to england

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    2. Hey coach driver, that's a complete load of utter bollocks. Do they arrest you if you are on the tram?a train? hahahaha Being a foot passenger is not an offence! Customs cant stop it and cant arrest you for it. PMSL!!!!!!!

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  4. Geoff mate, it might be you who find you are the 'idiot' ;P. You see if you park your car up at the terminal then UKBA can still seize it! Believe it or not. That's why they'll ask the seemingly innocent question about how you are travelling home that day. Its the transporting of or the 'intent to transport' that counts. Theoretically they can pull you over on the A2 many miles outside Dover and take your car. I know I advise not to take your own car, to park up or have someone else drive it over but it isn't a 100% guarantee...just reduces the likelihood.

    But never never say 'my car is parked out front'.

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  5. BD I'm happy with what l'm doing. l'm not going to get all paranoid over it and they can ask as much as they want how I'm getting home. They can go and get stuffed!

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  6. do you know if you drive a company car, can they still seize it?

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    1. Any vehicle used to "transport" excise good renders itself liable to seizure, weather this vehicle is used to bring the excise good across a border or just transport the excise good in the UK.

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    2. My brother got stopped in Dover a few years back in a truck, he worked for a dutch chilled food distribution company, he had what they referred to as "over the guide levels" they impounded the truck and told the company that they can have it back upon payment of £1000, the company had to pay it because of the cargo, it was chilled food and had to be delivered, customs knew this and took advantage of it!

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  7. I've seen instances of this happening in TV docs so I'd say they can seize a company vehicle and cost one one's job.

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  8. i,m a blue badge holder can they take my car ???
    help please

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    1. Go to the new forum, loads of help there

      http://n2d.boardhost.com/

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  9. Can onward travel expenses be claimed from HM Customs. We on a coach trip, got pulled, coach left us and it cost £70.00 to get home. We kept all our tobacco and wine as it was for our own use.

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    1. l'm afraid they simply don't care about your expenses incurred to get home. Many many people have suffered the same fate as you except the majority have had their goods seized and sometimes their car.

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  10. if you are stopped by customs in Dover does anyone know where they take your lorry? do they have any parking outsite dover?

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    1. yes as u come left out of the docks up the hill its a few miles up the road after the roundabout at top. Its a big storage wharehouse on the left. A friend of mine had to take his van up there once to off load some beer as he was overloaded.

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  11. What you all miss here is the simple interpretation,,
    First of all Uk border Authority act By seizing goods they believe are being used for commercial purpose etc.
    The practice that any traveler should employ is:
    "They will ask basic Questions" give basic answers eg Personal use and gifts.
    As long as you have a valid passport, the question of your frequency of travel is irrelevant,if you have never been stopped then who is to say you ever bought goods before of any description? you went on a break!
    If they seize your goods and you have declared that they are for personal use and gifts and not for commercial purposes request that A Police officer be called. The purpose of this is that BA are stealing your property. ( They have to also abide by British Law)Theft is against the Law simply seizing your goods on suspicion is infact saying you are Guilty until proven innocent.
    If they refuse a Police Officer, demand a consulate.
    Do not take any unlawful action or become abusive, just remember they have to abide by the law too.
    In every event try not to leave without your goods being returned back to you, they will expect you to give up and maybe go through the appeal process.One first thing you should ask if they are detaining you from following your scheduled travel arrangements, are they prepared to pay for alternative arrangements should it become necessary.Again this should be one of the first questions you ask them.

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    1. l understand where you are coming from and recognise the Freeman of the Land approach. Whilst it sounds good as a theory l'm sorry to say that it doesn't work.

      Recording the 'interview'and a Statement of Truth does.

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  12. I would assume it stays on the port grounds, though they may remove it to a close by secure logistic depot, there is one I noticed around the Ashford area.Because it will contain seized goods I expect unless they remove it's cargo, it would have to be in a secure area.

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  13. My partner & I got stopped at Gatwick recently. We had 5000 ciggies between us. They asked me to open up my suitcase which was locked. I did this and asked a few questions. The other 3 bits of luggage were not opened and they didn't seem that interested really. They did ask me what I did for a living though. I work for a charity. Not that my occupation makes me any less likely to be doing something wrong than other smokers! I might carry my business card in future though. I will prepare a "statement of truth" for future trips. They made no written record of us being stopped and the guy said he was satisfied the ciggies were for our use, which they were anyway. The whole thing seemed pretty half hearted to be honest though obviously we are very pleased our legally purchased ciggies were not taken off us. Does anyone have any further tips of what evidence to have ready? Would character references be any good? I know a Solicitor and a GP as friends. I will keep all receipts in future and be more prepared

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  14. I go to Poland 2 - 3 times a year just for the Cigs, there and back in a day. What I do as I going before I run out is take a photo of any I have left with a recent paper showing the date, as if I was selling them I wouldn't have any left.

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