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16-3-2018 6:03 pm  #1

help, answer to 10 Qs

Great site for info, wish I had seen it b4 they took my fags, please help

 1) Were your goods seized within the last month? 1/18

2) Are you a UK resident? yes

 3) What is the quantity of goods seized? 7000 fags

 4) Were the goods purchased in the EU and with your own funds? yes

5) Have you appealed yet? yes, challenged

 6) How many times have you travelled abroad in the past 12 months? 2 x to get fags

 7) Did you have a full interview by Border Force officers? yes

8) Did you inform the officers that all goods were for personal use incl as gifts (not paid for) ? yes

 9) Were all goods seized your own or were you travelling with another person? my own

 10) Are you prepared to go to court to recover your goods? yes

Last edited by okdelboy (17-3-2018 2:28 pm)


16-3-2018 8:15 pm  #2

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Sorry to hear your goods were seized.

Just to clarify, you have sent in a Notice of Claim rather than just asked for restoration?

Our Q8 always seems to create confusion, must reword it. If you receive any sort of payment in money or kind for gifts then they cannot be classed as gifts eg a couple of hundred cigs for the neighbour for cutting the hedge.

Normally we would say apply for a SAR but they have changed the rules and made it more difficult by insisting that an application contains a photo signed by a notary. A SAR should get you a copy of the officer's notebook record of the interview. Quite often though by the time a case gets to court they will change the reasons for seizure.

Did they give you the reasons for seizing the goods?

I suggest you prepare a trip log over say, the last couple of years, detailing your trips and purchases. have you been stopped before?

The case will hinge on you and your evidence being credible so you will need calcs to prove that your purchases were for own use and gifts. 7000 cigs at 20 per day is almost a years supply unless you have a partner who smokes the same, in which case it is of course 6 months supply. If you smoke more you will obviously have to back that up. It's no good saying you work 10 hours a day in an environment where smoking is not allowed and smoke 60 per day.

Normally customs will expect you to have purchased the same amount on every trip. However we had a case thrown out last year because we used an FOI which stated that they do not necessarily record every stop. The judge said in that case they cannot make assumptions without evidence.

That should give you something to start with, no doubt there's more.


17-3-2018 10:05 am  #3

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Hello and thank you Eezyrider for your reply.
I must start saying I did sign the officers notebook ( I had nothing to hide ) and I did not record.
In answer to your questions.
I have asked for a Challenge in my first letter then the reply from them says, appeal against the legality of the seizure and request for Restoration of seized items.
 I have had a reply and like you site shows it just got rubber stamped, they gave the reasons as-
" I conclude that there are no exceptional circumstances that would justify a departure from the commissioner's policy as your only reason forwarded for restoration is that the tobacco goods were for your and your partners own use."
 ( I had only ever said the goods were for me and NOT my partners ( she don't even smoke any more )

Answer to Q8. yes I did tell the officer that the goods were for my own use. and I had the credit card receipts to prove that I had bought them from the EU airport that I had just come from.

yes I have asked for a SAR and got the letter back as I did not give them a photo ID, I did not know I had too. Will be sending it back next week, THEY DO LIKE TO MAKE LIFE HARD FOR A INNOCENT PERSON.
I need to send the next letter to HMBF for a review officer to look at. HELP for that letter would be great

The reason that was given for seizing the goods was that I was bringing them back to sell.

I will be preparing a log to go back a couple of years.
 I did get stopped about 4-5 years ago bringing 5 x 250g box of tobacco from outside the EU, will never do that again.

I do smoke about 40 a day , It seems like I'm smoking a lot more with this crap going on and on, I do now have a letter from my doctors saying that I am a heavy smoker of 20-39 cigs a day.

The last time I went to get my fags I bought the same amount ( have credit card statement ) May last year 2017

well Eezyrider that is the answers to your reply hope you can HELP now just want to add the way I thought it would have been clean cut when coming within the EU that you should be allowed to bring goods for you own use as their web site says you CAN ( HMBF seem to think they are above what a person can do, it's NOT right )

My way of thinking was that if I bought the fags at the airport this would show the any TAX in the EU country I am travelling from has been paid, always paid by credit card so they cannot throw in my face any possibility of money laundering. I have had my own business for many years.
All my cost for my trips are done with credit card payments and then paid off with back transfers ( NO CASH AT ANY TIME )
since the seizure claiming that they was for selling the cigarettes back in the UK I have looked on the WEB and searched PRICE OF BLACK MARKET CIGARETTES, many sites show that the price for them is £5 or less so to me it would be madness to bring back fags that have cost me £4.63 per packet plus my flight & hotel, I am asking HMBF would a officer know the price of fags or NOT. If they know the price then by doing the maths it would clearly show that they cannot be for profit or if they don't know the price HOW can they make a judgment on the goods.
I now have no fags left so my plan is to go back out and get some more, my question is if I go soon are they going to seize my goods again because of what is going on with the last time I went or can they not use that as a reason to take my fags from me. I will be preparing myself better for my next trip IE I will have a recorder as well as my phone and will let them know by fax A Advanced Notification before my trip of what my intentions are as well as bringing SOT, a copy of my doctors letter to state I am a heavy smoker if you could advise me of any other info to take that would be great.
So if I have a SOT & I get stopped do I first ask for what reason the officer has stopped me & do they know me ( because they have to have a reason by LAW ) then after that do I give them the SOT and don't answer any other questions, because when I got my back from the last time the officer started asking me about if I had any criminal record of which I said I have some as a adult and some as a junior, he then asked me what as a junior and I just said I am not saying, he replied that he can ask for that info, I replied if you want to know go and find out yourself, I think at this point he had it in for me.  

Last edited by okdelboy (17-3-2018 2:32 pm)

     Thread Starter

17-3-2018 3:30 pm  #4

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Where to start.......

Firstly review. My view is that asking for restoration is like saying ''please can I have my goods back?''. You need to go through the process though in case you need the tribunal at the end. However I really don't have any advice to offer.

The fact that you used a credit card at least counteracts any possible accusation that you were buying goods with somebody else's cash.

Do not mention black market!  If you do you are saying  you have knowledge of it and that could be used against you, no matter how much sense your argument makes.

If your trips and purchases credibly balance out over say, a 2 year period compared to your usage then this has to be your main point of defence. Your doctor's letter and credit card statements are a big plus point also.

If you are going to buy more I suggest you buy smaller quantities until the matter is resolved. Personally I get 3 months supply at a time. Advance notification is a point on which the jury is still out. Not something I've ever done but I know others are more comfortable with it. Officers will not give the reasons for a stop. I don't see criminal records as being relevant to a stop and if asked I would tell them that. This is a civil procedures case.

For now.....


17-3-2018 3:37 pm  #5

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Hi Eezyrider
so if it's a no go with asking for restoration of which I've done so far do I now wait for a count hearing or can I do something else, sorry if it seems like a silly question but this hmbf stuff just goes right over my head...

     Thread Starter

17-3-2018 6:16 pm  #6

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Restoration is not my specialist subject  I've always seen it as a toothless process and consequently have put little effort into studying it. I would request a review as it's part of the procedure which ends with a tribunal. If things go tits-up, Tribunal will be your last shot.

Turbulentupstart knows more than most about restoration. Hopefully he will look in over the next couple of days and advise. Just make sure though that you reply within the timescale on the letter.


18-3-2018 2:26 pm  #7

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Just a quick one all, I'm trying to put together a letter to the Review Officer and would like some HELP as to the way to go. what about using parts of the SOT....or not

     Thread Starter

18-3-2018 7:34 pm  #8

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Only thing I can suggest is quote the rules and regulations and advice about personal imports from their website and say that you have complied with them all and can see no reason why your goods have been seized.

Do not mention goods were for own use or they will immediately discard it.


19-3-2018 7:35 am  #9

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Hi Eezyrider
is there any way i can get my letter to someone without putter it on here for the b------s to see, (like via my email address i registered with) it as I only have this chance to get my fags back then it's court next and the way I'm going with the lack of knowledge of the wording needed I feel like it's just going to be "lambs to the slaughter"

     Thread Starter

19-3-2018 10:45 am  #10

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

I would suggest you send a PM to Turbulentupstart and hope he picks it up. Personally, I really cannot offer anything further re review.

The main reason we have little interest and knowledge of this process is because it is rarely successful. You cannot use own use as a reason or it will be automatically thrown out. It is an internal process whereas condemnation proceedings are judged by a supposedly independent court. We have more experience in winning condems and can better advise you in that area.


23-3-2018 8:40 pm  #11

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

I mostly agree with what eezyrider has posted. Although restoration is definitely worth pursuing if a vehicle has been seized, it is very rare that cigs and tobacco are restored.

This is a very complex process and while eezyrider is correct to say that you cannot argue that the goods were ALL for your own use you can, (in theory anyway) argue that some of them were.

Therefore, while it is futile to merely state the goods were for your own use there is nothing to prevent you from sending in evidence of own use e.g how you paid for the goods, information regarding previous trips, evidence that you are a smoker etc.

You can also include anything not directly related to the "own use" argument such as personal hardship.

Look on a review  as an "optional extra" which you can pursue if you wish to leave open the option of an appeal to a tribunal

However, itt is important not to get bogged down in restoration as it is far more important to prepare for your hearing in the magistrates court.

Last edited by turbulentupstart (23-3-2018 8:42 pm)


30-11-2018 3:34 pm  #12

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

We won another one!!!

Congrats okdelboy. 

Not only did we win this at mags, they also refused to grant a s144 cert.

More details to follow when I get them


30-11-2018 5:13 pm  #13

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

eezyrider wrote:

We won another one!!!

Congrats okdelboy. 

Not only did we win this at mags, they also refused to grant a s144 cert.

More details to follow when I get them

Well done 👍😁👍😁

Last edited by piotrek (30-11-2018 5:13 pm)

Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

30-11-2018 8:42 pm  #14

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

fantastic news !!!!!

I am Homer of Borg, resistance is.............hmmmm doughnuts http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png

01-12-2018 4:14 pm  #15

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Okdelboy was stopped with 7000 cigs at Heathrow which after interview were seized.

 He appealed and applied for restoration. Restoration fizzled out. It took a ridiculous amount of time for the SAR to arrive but when it did it contained the notebook copy and an internal progress sheet from NPSU. On examination it transpired that nowhere on any of the paperwork were any reasons stated for the seizure. We received an email in answer to a query which clearly stated that an officer must include reasons for seizure in his notebook. In fact NPSU’s progress sheet also stated there were insufficient reasons to proceed. Consequently we headed to court not knowing if reasons for the seizure would transpire during the hearing. We therefore had to assume that BF would focus their case on the fact that the quantity was above the guidelines. This proved to be correct.

 True to my philosophy of ‘’keep it short and to the point’’ we prepared only 7 questions for the cross examination.
1) What are the limits of goods a traveller may bring into the country
2) Did I co-operate fully at interview in answering your A-J questions
3) I am a heavy smoker and have a Dr’s letter to support this, do you consider my usage calcs are reasonable.
4) Do you record every time you stop and question a traveller (we provided a copy of Shaky’s FOI proving they don’t)
5) Are financial circumstances a factor when deciding to seize goods (we provided an accountant’s cert of disposable income)
6) At what point during the interview did you stereotype me as an off licence owner, is not the correct term a revenue trader.
7) Why were there no reasons on any paperwork

 In answer to Q1 the officer surprisingly quoted guidelines as the limit so OKD pounced and produced customs notice 1 which clearly states there are no limits. Q’s 2-5 were straightforward as expected but need to be aired so that they can be used in the closing speech. Q6 – the officer asked OKD if he was an off licence owner whereas he should have asked are you a revenue trader. Hence he appeared to have stereotyped OKD as a corner shop owner.

Q7 – the officer fluffed his way through and OKD then produced the killer punch, the Hoverspeed ruling which clearly states guidelines (MIL’s) must not be used to presume a quantity above that figure is for commercial purposes. The officer had not listed any other reasons and therefore that was it – knockout! 

OKD was then called to the stand and, unusually in our experience, he was asked to outline his case. He was unprepared but used his closing speech to comply. He was then questioned by the barrister but BF had no ammumition and it fizzled out.

 At some point the magistrates and clerk stated that this was the first civil condems they had heard (the clerk in 20 yrs experience). The court granted in favour of OKD and BF started to apply for s144. We had included a costs sheet in the bundle and the magistrates stated that if they granted a 144 OKD would be out of pocket. BF contiued to argue but it was refused. 

OKD was congratulated in court on his presentation and afterwards by the barrister who said he was better prepared than most solicitors he had come across in the past.

 Another unusual aspect is that the officer was not in uniform.

I'm sure OKD will be along shortly and will correct any errors I have made


01-12-2018 8:31 pm  #16

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

great result.

Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.
Better to live one day as a lion than a thousand days as a sheep'


02-12-2018 6:59 am  #17

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

Hello All
YES I am one happy person... I WON they LOST...... I'm sure many of us feel that we should not even have to go through the crap UKBF put us through just because on the day they feel that we are doing something WRONG. They seem to look at things with blinkers on and as they are wearing a fancy dress it gives them the right to make someone's life a F__k__g misery.
From day one I was never going to let it go, very true I did not know where to turn & like most of us we find ourselves on this excellent forum N2D, without you guys helping me I'm sure my story would be different. I THANK ALL OF YOU 100% FOR YOUR HELP & ESPECIALLY EEZYRIDER for the FOI & Hoverspeed ruling that was just the kick in the bollocks UKBF needed as well as the rest of the info.
The thing I would say to anyone reading this and thinking of going through the crap that UKBF will put you through is preparation is everything.....DON'T GIVE UP
I will be going soon to get what has been a long time in the waiting, MORE FAGS

     Thread Starter

02-12-2018 1:15 pm  #18

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

What is becoming obvious is that the courts are no longer accepting BF's argument that simply being over the guidelines is sufficient reason to seize goods.

With years of experience we have polished our act to the point we can now prepare a good argument to win most genuine cases. It is still up to the individual though to present their case. As they say, we can provide the bullets.........

It's a shame though that the borders will probably close next March and there will be no access to cheap goods. If that happens we will be back to the old duty free limits and if you are over the limit your goods will be seized - no argument.

In the meantime will shoppers be looking to stock up and using Brexit as the reason they are carrying large quantities? BF accept tobacco goods have a 12 month shelf life so theoretically there should not be a problem with buying a year's supply. What will happen if goods are seized? It will take almost 12 months to get to court and if a shopper wins his case the borders will be closed by then. That sounds to me like win-win for BF............



02-12-2018 5:32 pm  #19

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

eezyrider wrote:

In the meantime will shoppers be looking to stock up and using Brexit as the reason they are carrying large quantities? BF accept tobacco goods have a 12 month shelf life so theoretically there should not be a problem with buying a year's supply. 

Well Eezy, as you know I only go across once a year and I can 100% confirm that the 12Kg I buy are perfect right up to the last pouch. I do tend to try to keep the boxes somewhere reasonably cool and dry but to be honest, I reckon they would still be OK after maybe twice that period.

I must admit though that after this last trip I plan to do and Brexit has happened, I reckon our lass 'n' me will deffo make a concerted effort to stop altogether as UK prices for Bacci are downright ridiculous.

I am Homer of Borg, resistance is.............hmmmm doughnuts http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png

05-12-2018 10:21 am  #20

Re: help, answer to 10 Qs

As a final word on OKD's case, having just seen an excerpt from the transcript.

We included in our bundle a costs sheet detailing research and prep for the case and flights and hotel costs to replace seized goods.

Normally you would only be able to pursue these separately by negotiation and if a s144 was not granted. There was an argument between the mags and BF about this at the end of the case. However the mags awarded costs of nearly £500 according to our costs sheet and then granted a s144 as closure.

And OKD did not even have to ask for them. So when you prepare your evidence bundle, include a costs sheet, you might get lucky.


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