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03-12-2018 8:10 pm  #1


Luton Seized Cigarettes

Hello,
I am looking for some advice and support.
Four months ago, my dad has been stopped and searched at the airport. He only comes ones an year to bring my child back from holiday. We always ask him to buy us some cigarettes. He doesn't speak any English. 
On my way to the airport I had a phone call from BF. They have told me that my child is brilliant. Not to worry about anything, they will let them in a while. Started to question if my dad smokes, who else and so on. They said that he carries too many cigarettes. He had 5180. I told them that these are for 3 of us. Then the man started to talk to me really rudely, saying that because of me and people like me the country is going down. And all we deserve is Brexit. I told him that my husband works and pays more taxes than him, so he hasn't got the right to speak to me like that. However, he kept saying, that my child goes to school in here, and if some day they need an ambulance, it wont come, because I don't buy cigarettes from here, therefore I don't put any money for the Government. I said, that me and my family live in this country for long enough and we are doing our best for it, not ruing it. Then he told me to wait for them.
I kept calling back to see what is going on, as this is my first time to face that kind of situation. I spoke with BF couple of times more, trying to convience them to give me the cigarettes back, but they kepr saying that I am breaking the law. I asked them, how. I told them to feel free to open all of the packs. You can't sell open boxes, can you? Furthermore, I said, that there is no certain limit on the quantityn of cigaret as long as are for your own consumption. Additionally, he comes once per year, so he cant be doing business.
No matter how hard I was trying, they didn't change their mind. 
I spoke to my father as well and told him not to sign any papers.
So after they came out, my dad has told me, that they have been using my child to translate. Do they have the right?
At the end, I think because I told them, that I will proceed a claim if they use my child as an interpreter, they have given to my dad an interpreter on the phone. My dad said it's been useless, as he couldn't hear anything. All he said is that he paid for the cigarettes, which are for his daughter. He had the receipts as well.
What I have done so far is to request a copy of the Office Records. It appears that my child has told them so many things, that are not true. How come they can believe a child? How come they can involve my child in anything like this?
The other thing I did is to send an appeal against the seizure paired with an application for restoration.
Couple of weeks ago I have received a letter, saying that under section 139 and section 49 ( 1 ) (a) of Act 1979, the things are seized. The decision - Under section 152 (b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 - I do not consider the legality or the correctness of the seizure itself.
I would like to cancel the decision and go further. 
What are my chances for success.

 

03-12-2018 9:37 pm  #2


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

This looks a very complicated case and one which I think you will need a solicitor or barrister's opinion.

There are some very bad people disgracing the Border Force uniform. In our experience BF will always find in favour of their own if you complain.

Unfortunately, under English law you are not able to represent your father in these matters. It is something either he has to deal with himself or be represented by a qualified person. BF rules state that they will not communicate with an overseas resident. 

I don't understand why you only received the seizure paperwork a couple of weeks ago. Do you know if your father had any paperwork at the time of the seizure?

How old is your child, I am sure most people would be horrified to learn of his experience. I would advise to raise this with your MP. Have you applied for or received a copy of the officers notes?


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03-12-2018 10:53 pm  #3


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

I have got an authorization letter from my dad, certified by a solicitor. I have attached it to the officer's notebook copy request and the appeal against the seizure. So, their reply is addressed to the daughter of......
He has been given a warning letter about seized goods and seizure information notice.
My child is nearly 9. I have got the copy of the officers notes and everything is based on my child's words. I told BF to be extremely careful with my dad, because he was diagnosed with cancer, as well as had a stroke. In their officers book says: " Her child advise me his mum had told him to tell me TT had cancer, to which her child stated - I don't know this. Based on the phone call with the interpreter, sale of cigarettes, I am satisfied this seizure is correct". UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!  They rely on nothing! This is just a child. I can prove my dad's medical history. 
I did speak with a lawyer, but all she did is to charge me £100 for a 10min phone call and told me that we can try, but.....
I can't stand injustice.

     Thread Starter
 

04-12-2018 8:12 am  #4


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

You could make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Complaints which has jurisdiction over customs and immigration. Normally there is a proviso that a complaint must be made within 3 months but they have discretion.

https://policeconduct.gov.uk/complaints-and-appeals/make-complaint

I will come back shortly with a fuller reply and advice.


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04-12-2018 11:46 am  #5


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

That would be great, thanks

     Thread Starter
 

04-12-2018 1:06 pm  #6


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

Desita 

There's some things I need to be clear about.

1) When the goods were seized you were given paperwork. Did it say the goods were seized or detained?

2) When did you send in the appeal, have you received acknowledgement from BF that it has been received and accepted? What is the date on the acknowledgement if you have one?

3) Have you received a SAR back including copy of the officer's notebook?

I need answers to advise on what is available to you.

For now........


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04-12-2018 3:00 pm  #7


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

I will post all the info you need as soon as I go back home, probably in two hours.

     Thread Starter
 

04-12-2018 5:34 pm  #8


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

1) He was given a seizure information notice, but on that is clearly stated, that " this is not a notice of seizure " and then another piece of paper - Warning letter about seized goods. It reads that " the goods listed on attached schedule( as detailed on Form BOR 156 ) have been seized under section 139 of the Customer and Excise Management Act 1979. Finally, a Notice to a Person Being Detained at the Border/Required to submit to further examination. Any of this has been signed by him. How can provide him with papers for signature, when he doesn't understand any single word?
2) I did send the appeal on the 26th of August, 2018 and couple of days later ( dated 29th )  I have received the acknowledgement. It says " Thank you for your letter......the contents of which are duly noted......"
3) I have got a copy of the officer's notebook.
My biggest concern is that I've got another letter, related to the restoration, that tells that " I do not consider the legality or the correctness of the seizure itself." and if I want to cancel this decision, I have to request a statutory review, which has to be received by the 6th of December. Am I too late now?
 

     Thread Starter
 

04-12-2018 6:30 pm  #9


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

Firstly restoration - it is not my specialist area. It is effectively like saying please can I have my goods back. There are very few reasons you can use which will get your goods back and if you use the reason that the goods were for your own use they will simply refuse your request. If you are concerned simply write back and say please review the decision. This way the tribunal is a final option.

Turbulentupstart knows more than most about this procedure, maybe he will look in and comment.

It looks like your appeal was accepted so you are not locked out of that process. In order to give the best advice I need to see the officer's notebook. If you want you can edit out your personal info and email it to me on the forum email address so it is not made public at this stage. I'll send you a PM with the email address. It would be better if you attached all the paperwork you have.

BF have 6 months from Aug 29th to start condemnation proceedings so they have to get their complaint to the court by Feb 28th. At some point you will receive a letter from BF asking to confirm you wish to continue with your appeal. My advice is always to ignore it, it has no legal standing.


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04-12-2018 7:24 pm  #10


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

Okay, will pm the paperwork to you and will send them 2morrow a recorded delivery letter, just to make sure I have tried everything.

     Thread Starter
 

04-12-2018 10:17 pm  #11


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

Desita

I have the paperwork. What is not clear to me is where the cigarettes were bought and in what country your father lives?


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04-12-2018 10:41 pm  #12


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

The ones in the suitcase were from a shop a shop with a receipt. The rest were from the airport shop. He was travelling from Bulgaria. Most of the things written in there are not true.

     Thread Starter
 

05-12-2018 9:03 am  #13


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

Desita

I have studied the notes carefully. The reason the goods were seized is because your father admitted he was being reimbursed for the goods by yourself. This is a legitimate reason to seize the goods.

Your account of events is somewhat tempered by the officer's notes. He claims you were rude and aggressive and tried to bully him into changing his mind. You say that the officer's account is all lies, they will argue that you were not there and could not know first hand, what was said. If you use this argument in court you will have to disprove his account or otherwise on balance they will believe the officer. On reflection I don't see how you can disprove his account.

The notebook implies that the child had limited involvement before an interpreter was used. I don't think there is anything there that would help your case.

On the basis that it is claimed that your father admitted to being paid for the goods and you cannot disprove the account of what happened, I don't see a way forward. You cannot represent your father in court, he would have to do it with the aid of an independent interpreter or legally qualified person. If he loses he would be subject to a minimum of £2500 costs. He would then be presented with a bill by HMRC for duty and a penalty which could be another £2000+. 

Turbulentupstart may be able to offer some advice on the restoration procedure to maybe reduce HMRC's demand.

 


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05-12-2018 12:32 pm  #14


Re: Luton Seized Cigarettes

I see what you mean, but what has happened is that, when they called me for the first time to tell me that my dad has been stopped for a check, the man on the phone was rude to me. He started to talk to me about Brexit, what bad person I am an so on. He told me then that my dad does not smoke, he doesn’t know who the cigarettes are ..... Then, I spoke with my dad and he told me a different story. I haven’t been rude to him, I just tried to explain to him, that he and my dad are saying different words, because he hasn’t been provided with an interpreter how do they know what his answers were. I don’t think my dad is going to lyes to me.
I wasn’t rude, but I was mad.

Last edited by desita (05-12-2018 9:56 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

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