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13-12-2014 11:37 am  #21


Re: Cigarettes detained

Apart from, as warrior mentioned, a telephone interview, you are also entitled to ask for an interview at a mutual location. In your case perhaps it would be possible for an interview at a Northern Ireland customs office in view of the cost and logistics of getting to Dover.
Although you are entitled to ask, they are entitled to refuse but this could possibly have some bearing on what jurisdiction a tribunal might have later.
Just thinking out loud really as we do not have any experience of this. 


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15-12-2014 8:29 am  #22


Re: Cigarettes detained

BF officer called me this morning and said I have time extended for 10 more days for an interview. He also told me I need to come with my wife (cigarettes are intended mainly for her) and bring the car with me, because it "may be" the subject for seizure ( the way he said it, is like he seized everything already and I don't need to go).
My car is in mechanics since a week and I don't know if I'll get it back on time. Besides, the cost of going with the car and both of us is 2/3 of the value of cigarettes. Apart of that I will have to pay nanny to look after our children.
The most economical option would be if I go on my own and book the plane but I don't know if this is a good idea... 

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15-12-2014 8:42 am  #23


Re: Cigarettes detained

sounds like a scare tactic about the car,it has been seized once and restored,so i dont think this is relevant.

beware that if you dont return for an interveiw,you are likely to recieve a duty penalty aswell for the seized goods,so definetly return,then start the process of appealing if they do actually seize your goods.

If your wife cannot make it,maybe a prepared statement from her ,a sot should cover all questions they need to ask,but if she can make it ,it would be better,but insist on being interveiwed together and not separated.


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15-12-2014 9:20 am  #24


Re: Cigarettes detained

I would definitely not have the car anywhere near. There's no logic as to how customs behave.

As regards a duty penalty, if their policy is not to communicate with you because you are not a UK resident, I fail to see how they can enforce payment.

I appreciate there is a principle involved but in this case I would carefully weigh up whether or not it is worth pursuing. There is the expense of getting to Dover and if the goods are seized, the ensuing condemnation proceedings of which there is a 50/50 chance of winning. Possibly followed by an appeal to Crown court......

Last edited by eezyrider (15-12-2014 9:25 am)


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15-12-2014 10:05 am  #25


Re: Cigarettes detained

I will definitely show up for an interview and record it all. I'm aware if I leave it as is it will get much worse (read more expensive). But I have strong feeling that if I go with the car I will regret it... The case officer is a bit suprised I called back for an interview. He had a chance of seizing car already, he "failed" and he'll be trying to succeed now in my opinion. The aim of bf is to seize the goods and if they find single (even weakest) point to justify the seizure they will certainly do it. I don't really think I'm obliged to take the car as it was not a subject of detention, so the officer have no ground to insist.

I really would like to go with my wife, because she would be a great support for me, but I'm not sure if my wife's presence will be helpful. I know her too good, she will act very, very emotional and her behaviour may, in some circumstances, give them reason to achieve their goal. On the other hand, in some cases, it might be an advantage...

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15-12-2014 10:35 am  #26


Re: Cigarettes detained

you are certainly not obliged to take the car,they would class the goods as seized if you fail to attend anyway,so if they wanted the car aswell then they would come and get it ha ha.

you may be suprised whe  you return for interveiw,they may take into account the cost involved and inconvinience caused to yourself,this may go a long way to proving you are a genuine shopper,i think it would certainly help in appeal process even if the interveiwng ukbf is too blind to see this.


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15-12-2014 10:49 am  #27


Re: Cigarettes detained

Would it make any difference if at the time of 'incident' I wouldn't be the registered owner of the car?

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15-12-2014 12:01 pm  #28


Re: Cigarettes detained

seb1k wrote:

Would it make any difference if at the time of 'incident' I wouldn't be the registered owner of the car?

No. the 'owner' would have to put up a good argument for the vehicle not to be seized unless it was a hire car.

In my opinion they won't seize the car unless it is in their presence. They won't come after it, too much trouble, especially if it is not in the country.
 


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15-12-2014 12:08 pm  #29


Re: Cigarettes detained

I was thinking the same, and the officer by insisting so much about bringing the car just assured me about it.
 

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17-12-2014 12:57 pm  #30


Re: Cigarettes detained

dont worry too much about the car,it had already been seized,then restored once,your only concern is your detained goods now.


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17-12-2014 5:11 pm  #31


Re: Cigarettes detained

Flight booked for tomorrow, all logistics worked out. Fingers crossed 
I've got FOI and SOT printed, receipt of purchase, proof of income for both of us, 2 phones with plenty of recording storage and angry wife which I will not hesitate to use if things turn out difficult. What else might be useful?

I found that, at least in my opinion officer was in breach of his procedure number of times. First, he did not have a reasonable ground for making initial stop. Yes, BF seized our goods (read robbed) us two years ago but we already travelled last year with no issues, carrying even more cigarettes. Second, it was clear that he made a stop in the hope of obtaining grounds through questioning to support subsequent search. By the way I've declared the exact amount of goods we've had and it was then confirmed during search. Third, officer had no grounds to detain goods whatsoever as I clearly stated multiple times the goods are only for our own use and they were purchased with my own money. He used my refusal to an interview as reason for detention.

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17-12-2014 6:13 pm  #32


Re: Cigarettes detained

I'd exercise caution if relying on procedural issues.

It has been proven over and again in court that they do not have to state their reasonable grounds for a stop. It could be any one of a number of the flimsiest reasons such as profiling

Sec78 CEMA authorises them to ask questions about where you have been and what you are carrying.

As regards your 3rd point, a decision is based on the balance of probability (and would be so in court) rather than beyond reasonable doubt

If you have drafted a 'bulletproof' SOT incl previous trip dates and usage calcs, I would rely heavily on that for interview and add as little else as possible. It might debatably be worth mentioning that you feel you are being victimised because you are not a UK citizen.

As regards using mobiles for recording-not recommended, but just make sure there is no auto shut-off function on them as many people have said their phone shut down while recording.
And Good Luck!


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17-12-2014 6:46 pm  #33


Re: Cigarettes detained

I wouldn't even challenge their adherance to procedures in front of them, was just thinking out loud. What I want to do is just rely on SOT and will try not give them slightest room for playing their game. I think the point about feeling we are beeing victimised in some circumstances may be helpful too.
And because I'm going with my wife - it is clear for me the best option is to be interviewed together. Do you think they will be forcing us to do separate "interrogations"? If so, how can we protect from it?

PS Will we need separate SOTs?

Last edited by seb1k (17-12-2014 6:47 pm)

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17-12-2014 7:00 pm  #34


Re: Cigarettes detained

Joint SOT will do so long as it covers the necessary info.

As regards being interviewed together I did an FOI on the subject and the answer came back that there are no rules or regs which forbid a couple being interviewed together. However I believe that you may not answer for each other or interrupt the other persons' interview.

The FOI is on site here somewhere.

FOI no 26792:-
 

Last edited by eezyrider (17-12-2014 7:06 pm)


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17-12-2014 7:09 pm  #35


Re: Cigarettes detained

I endore eezyrider's comments above, In  particular do not become fixated on the original stop as this does not affect the legaility of any seizure. Also if the goods are seized (and hopefully they will not be) insist that they explain the reasons to you and record them in the notebook exactly as given . Ask them for a copy of the notebook before you leave.

Use the "angry wife" with great caution. It is far better to be scrupulously calm and polite (but also assertive and confident)  at all times during the interview.

Hope all goes well.

 

17-12-2014 7:17 pm  #36


Re: Cigarettes detained

Yes good point about the notebook. After our last stop the officer offered to copy his notebook for us without asking.  And when you are asked to sign the notebook, respectfully decline. Simply say something like it is of no advantage to me (to sign)


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17-12-2014 8:08 pm  #37


Re: Cigarettes detained

I'm taking my lovely wife with me not to cause a war, but to give me a support. Just to be clear, she will not go mad
I've made notes of your comments, thank you very much again and will post an update when we come back.
If you have any more thoughts do not hesitate to post them. 
 

Last edited by seb1k (17-12-2014 9:04 pm)

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17-12-2014 10:31 pm  #38


Re: Cigarettes detained

The freedom of information you refer to is here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/152914/response/393812/attach/html/2/20130528%20Final%20IR%20Response%2026792.pdf.html
The relevant part is this: 32.  The Civil Interview Guidelines do not have a section specifically dealing with  the interviewing of couples.

This in effect means that they cannot insist on interviewing you separately as there no law that prevents you from being interviewed together.
The only way they can force you to be interviewed alone is to invoke PACE and that in my opinion would be greatly in your favour as they would then have to provide you with free legal representation.

Last edited by bordershopper (17-12-2014 10:32 pm)


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18-12-2014 10:23 am  #39


Re: Cigarettes detained

remember to start recording from the first meeting with ukbf,dont wait for them to read the commerciality statement,inform them from the outset you will be recording,also take notes,take your time answering all questions,also make a note of initial cost of trip and the expense of having to return for the interveiw and present this to ukbf.
Try and be calm and polite,insist on a smoking break,and ensure any smoke breals are noted down.

Dont rely on mobile phones for recording,there are notices about saying 'mobile phone use is prohibited',there may be a function to switch it off or airplane mode and it will still record, they may also ask for a copy of your recording,ask for a copy of their notebook and the original notes taken at time of detention/stop,or record them if they read it out before the interbeiw starts.

There may be 2 ukbf who conduct the interveiw,dont be intimidated.

After the interveiw the ukbf will then take his notes to his senior officer who will make the decision,if they seize make sure you get the full reasons for seizure.

Previous seizures alone is not enough,i was told this by a reveiw officer.

frequent traveller

amount purchased

refusal to answer questions

when added together with other minor factors, will give them reason for seizure.

good luck.

 


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18-12-2014 6:46 pm  #40


Re: Cigarettes detained

Many thanks. We are in Dover since few hours, but senior officer told me to wait until case officer will come on duty, as she don't know the details and will not deal with us... I have it recorded. This will be at 22:00 ( not sure if I'll be contacted at this time.) We will miss our ferry to Ireland at 2:45 at night departing from Pembroke and then we will have to wait 12 hours for next one and pay amendment fee.

Any thoughts on that?

Last edited by seb1k (18-12-2014 7:55 pm)

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