Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - The Growler
Living in a banana republic where backhanders and graft are a way of life in almost every transaction with officialdom (and, I might add, one of the reasons it often works better than in so-called developed countries) I was surprised to read that Her Majesty's Customs are impounding vehicles arriving in UK from EU with legally imported amounts of tobacco.

Is this true? If so how do they get away with it, and how much does it "cost" to grease out of it, just in case I need to one day?
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - ChrisR
There's quite a big black market in imported tobacco. There are people who take a people carrier over to Belgium, then spend the day going backwards and forwards with carrier bag loads of cigs (legal imports), then end up back in Belgium, fill up the people carrier (to legal levels again), cross back to UK and put the bag loads in the van and go back up north where they sell them in newsagents. The same applies to Coca Cola and to a lesser extent booze.

The carjacking happens when bogus customs officers stop you on the M2 or M20, tell you you've broken the law and "impound" the booty. There are a lot of severely overloaded cars on the M2 and M20 on a Saturday evening, believe me. The police used to stop overloaded coaches at the weigh bridge just outside Canterbury and locals used to go there to "make an offer" to the passengers for the excess beer. Incidentally, I used to do most of my grocery shopping in Calais when I lived in Kent. The only time I've ever been stopped in customs was this year when driving a self-levelling Citroen. The customs post was full of Xantias and BXs.

Chris
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - David Millar
Chris

That's fascinating about Cits. I brought my BX estate back from Cherbourg the other week with reasonable amount of goodies no problem. Coming out of Portsmouth Harbour the Peugeot 406 estate in front was grounding on the fairly modest humps and the back was running about 3 inches off the ground on the motorway. If anyone deserved to be stopped, he did.

Another story. Prior to getting the BX, I looked at CX estates. One belonged to a guy who had three sitting around, and didn't seem to bothered which he sold. It emerged that he regularly bought CX estates and travelled to Ostend on this ciggy and booze run. I presume he wanted to keep the registrations turning over on the cars used. It put me off because I wanted a car I could happily take to France without being stopped every time because the number showed up on someone's computer.

David
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - THe Growler
Yes but this still begs the question, why shouldn't anyone do that? It's an obvious opportunity.
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Mark (Brazil)
Because I think its only "unlimited" if its for "personal use". I guess, therefore, there is a quantity at which that might be a little difficult to justify.
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Ian Cook
C&E even impounded the car of a disabled bloke from Bristol who was bringing back amounts allowed by EU law. He's taking HMG to the European courts - It'll be interesting to see if he gets anywhere with the case.

Ian
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - ChrisR
It's not so much the bringing back as the selling on, which is rife. This is big business for organised crime, and all the unpleasantness that entails. Customs and Excise can't cope. The sooner our tax rates (and everything else IMHO) are brought into line with the EU, the better.

As I said, the real threat to the innocent booze cruiser is the bogus customs men on the motorways of Kent.

Chris
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Matt Kelly
Chris
How do these bogus customs officials operate ?
Are they sitting on the M2/A2 in cars that look like real C&E vehicles ? Do they have convincing uniforms ??

Shame I wasn't student in Canterbury in the days you could nip up to the weighbridge & relieve people who had been stopped of their imports !!
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Martin
Matt,

You can ONLY be stopped by the police - not C&E. If C&E have reason to believe that you are smuggling it is the police that pull you over.

Martin.
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Brian
Lots of posters on the BBC Talking Point are under the illusion that if the UK adopts the euro as its legal currency all UK taxes and prices will instantly drop to European levels and that Customs and Excise will shut up shop at the ports.
Wrong!
The same sad gits seem to think that adopting the euro will also slash NHS waiting lists, let pubs open all day, make the trains run on time, slash public transport fares, raise education standards, cut crime and eliminate traffic jams.
And lots more besides.
Oh dear.
It may be that the UK Government are covertly encouraging these misconceptions to place the blame for their failures onto being outside the eurozone, rather than their own incompetance!
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Brian
C & E are a law unto themselves in the UK.
Their power of seisure far exceed those of the police and the Inland Revenue and they simply run rough-shod over everybody and interpret any rule in the most restrictive way possible, making it up as they go along.
I totally disagree with the seisure of vehicles as it constitutes a fine of maybe tens of thousands of pounds when if it came to court the penalty would be in the hundreds at the worst.
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - THe Growler
Corruption has many forms. In 35 years in the distribution, express and forwarding industries and experience of operating in more than 70 countries, I never met a customs department that wasn't bent. Seems UK is no different.
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - ChrisR
Brian wrote:
>
> C & E are a law unto themselves in the UK.
> Their power of seisure far exceed those of the police and the
> Inland Revenue and they simply run rough-shod over everybody
> and interpret any rule in the most restrictive way possible,
> making it up as they go along.

As I said, if we were in line with the rest of Europe (including a written bill of rights), these things would be much more difficult for them to pull off. Nothing to do with the Euro (although I reckon that's a pretty good plan in the long run as well). The police always used to be civilians in uniform. Since the miner's strike in the early 1980s they've become an arm of the state. Since we technically have no rights as subjects (we're not even citizens in the technical sense), only privileges, their power is awesome.

Rant over.

Chris
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - Andrew Hamilton
Not easy for the customs officer on the lookout for drugs, illegal immigrants and people doing three trips a day with overloaded vehicles. A very unpleasant job! I have had no problems on my admittedly rare trips to darkest France!
Re: Car-jacking reaches UK - offical? - THe Growler
I would suggest they focus on the drugs issue (immigration is not their bag, surely?) and leave poor old Joe Sixpack to try and make a few bucks as a way of getting back some of what the Govt thieves from him. My daughters studies in London and from what she tells me easy-to-get drugs are somewhat of a bigger social problem than her mates getting a couple of under the counter packs of Marlborough from Gopal Singh's ministore (her words).
 

Value my car