‘Repeated attempts to smuggle cigarettes can lead to prosecution’
8th December 2010: Count your cigarettes before coming to the UK.
For the UK Border Agency has clarified there are strict limits on the number of cigarettes holidaymakers can bring back to the UK. More than the permitted number can lead to confiscation of the cigarettes. Repeated attempts can lead to prosecution.
The assertion came soon after five holiday makers had their cigarettes confiscated by the UK Border Agency officers in a spate of smuggling attempts at Bournemouth Airport over the Christmas period.
According to the information made available by the Border Agency nearly 50,000 cigarettes were seized from three men and two women – aged between 25 and 75 from the Swindon area – who were returning from Lanzarote.
The Agency added people arriving from the Canary Islands are allowed to bring back 200 cigarettes without paying duty. One individual had 12,000 cigarettes – 600 times the legal limit.
Reacting to the developments, Regional Director for the UK Border Agency David Holt said: ‘There are strict limits on the number of cigarettes holidaymakers can bring back to the UK. If these cigarettes had been sold on the black market, the Treasury would have lost over £9,000 in duty payments.
‘Cigarette smuggling is serious and increases the tax burden on everyone else, to help find vital public services like schools and hospitals.
‘Our officers are working day and night to prevent illegal drugs and dangerous weapons, as well as other contraband, from reaching our streets.’
The Agency added no arrests were made by it, although the cigarettes were all seized, resulting in a financial loss to the individuals concerned. Cigarette smugglers are tracked by the UK Border Agency and repeat offenders can be prosecuted, it added.