Benjamin Franklyn said, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” And I’d have to agree but I’d add something…… smuggling! As soon as something is taxed highly in one place and yet is freely available in another there will always emerge a criminal class to exploit the situation. From Africa they smuggle highly vulnerable people to Europe, from France they smuggle exploitable workers to the United Kingdom, guns and rockets and bullets are smuggled through tunnels into occupied Palastine… all over the world the talented smuggler is in high demand.
And then ….we have the Northern Irish version of the smuggler!
He smuggles ciggies… as this story from the Derry Journal reports:- Derry man jailed for smuggling cigs. The full story demands a five minute read but here’s a flavour to get you going!
“********* was jailed after being caught on three occasions by Customs officials coming off the same Belfast International flight with thousands of illegal cigarettes.
He was first arrested on December 21, 2006 when he came off a flight from Lanzarote with almost 40,000 cigarettes.
Three weeks later the Derry man was returning on the same flight with more than 50,000 cigarettes and £1,600 in cash when he was again stopped.
And on March 29, 2007 – three months after his first arrest – he was caught again coming off the Lanzarote flight.
On this occasion he spotted customs officials and attempted to ditch a suitcase containing 30,000 cigarettes.
When challenged by officials, unemployed ********** owned up that the suitcase was his.
A follow-up search of his home found another 3,760 cigarettes valued at £2,254. Customs officials said he had tried to evade duty worth £23,000.
Sentencing *********, Judge David Smith said he had to prevent him from re-offending and find a way to discourage others. He said that after consideration the only way this could be achieved was by a period of custody.”
Isn’t this fascinating? Here’s a guy who obviously booked early and often after getting a great deal with a budget airline but didn’t have the sense to work out when he’d been rumbled! But you’d think the penny might have dropped after the second arrest…no?
So the rewards for the activity must be pretty good if it is worth multiple arrests and the loss of both cash and goods…yes?
But… there’s more!
Our inept Derry smuggler has counterparts all over the UK! This story from the good old Beeb is fabulous – Cigarette haul seized at airport. It reports:-
Customs officers at East Midlands Airport have seized 73,000 illicit cigarettes from four men who tried to smuggle the goods into the UK.
The cigarettes, all branded Palace and worth £14,000, were confiscated as the group returned on a flight from Tenerife in the Canary Isles.
Two of the men are from Newark in Nottinghamshire, one is from Lincoln and the fourth from Market Drayton.
Investigations are continuing and no arrests have been made.
The seizure comes a week after more than 120,000 cigarettes were seized from a gang of 13 people trying to bring them into the country through the airport.
John MacMillan, detection manager for HM Revenue and Customs, said: “We hope this second seizure sends a clear and powerful message to would-be criminals that we have successful and effective teams of customs officers working at regional airports.
“We will not hesitate to take action against those dealing in smuggled goods and evading duty.”
In a final sentence the reporter says helpfully:-
“The latest haul of cigarettes will be sent to an incinerator.”
They were destined for incineration one way or another anyway I suppose! 🙂 But, seriously, how does anyone expect to walk into the country with 73,000 fags in a suitcase and not get caught?
What is obvious from these stories is that the powers that be are cracking down on smuggling fags and I’m not against that. I don’t smoke so hey…. I don’t really care!
But I do have a question? If the lads and lasses of the HM Revenue and Customs service are go good at catching inept ciggy smugglers and stopping them bringing fags from foreign parts to pollute our streets then……. how come they are so flaming useless at catching the drug smugglers who seem to be able to land tons of cocaine, heroin and wacky-backy at any time of their choosing?
Maybe if there was a bit more concentration on the hard targets then the streets of NI would not be awash with the all the crap that is destroying lives. That is where the death comes in…….
Point made unless you disagree?