Carrying over 1kg tobacco or 800 cigarettes? Cop may question you

Tax revenue protected due to tobacco seizures was £197,541,210 during 2010-11 7th October 2011: Carrying more than 1kg of tobacco or 800 cigarettes? You may find yourself being questioned.
Less than a week after the UK Border Agency announced that the minimum indicative levels (MILs) for tobacco and cigarettes brought into the UK from the EU has been reduced from 1 October 2011, the Agency indicated carrying excess quantity could make you come face to face with the police.

The UKBA has also asserted that the total tax revenue protected as a result of tobacco seizures was £197,541,210 during the financial year 2010-11.

The UKBA said: `Although there remain no limits on the amount of tobacco which can be brought in from EU countries as long as it is for personal use, our officers are more likely to ask questions if a passenger has more than 1kg of tobacco (down from 3kg) or 800 cigarettes (down from 3,200 previously).

`If we are satisfied that the goods are for a commercial purpose we may seize them and any vehicle used to transport them.

The announcement came soon after a man and woman from Preston had tobacco products worth £20,000 and a car seized by UKBA officers in Plymouth. They were caught trying to bring them through the city’s port.

The 48-year-old man and 50-year-old woman had returned to the UK aboard a ferry from Roscoff at 18:30 on Friday 30 September after travelling to France 2 days previously.

They were stopped by the officers who checked the vehicle they were driving.

The search revealed that they were carrying 230kg of tobacco.

When questioned, the man said he had paid £20,000 for the rolling tobacco. If the tobacco had been sold in the UK, it is estimated that the Treasury would have lost around £26,000 in revenue.

The man and woman were allowed to continue their journey on foot, without the car they were travelling in or the tobacco they had bought.

Pete Jones, assistant director, South West, UK Border Agency said: ‘Tobacco smuggling is serious and increases the tax burden on everyone else. Revenue from cigarettes and tobacco helps fund public services.

‘Tobacco smugglers are tracked by the UK Border Agency and repeat offenders will be prosecuted.

‘In addition to making seizures like this, our officers are working day and night to prevent illegal drugs and dangerous weapons, as well as illegal immigrants, from reaching the UK.’

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