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'Stick to the Limit' with duty free

23 March 2012

Customs and Immigration are attempting to raise the public's awareness about customs allowances due to an increase in the number of passengers exceeding them.

There is a growing trend where passengers buy cigarettes in excess of their duty free allowance and do not declare the excess. In particular, passengers are purchasing cartons of either 400 or 1000 cigarettes because of the special offers that are available. Unfortunately when purchasing these cigarettes, passengers are not giving consideration to the customs allowances and are either disappointed or become angry when they are required to pay the appropriate duty.

In 2011, officers from the Customs and Immigration Service were responsible for the seizure of over 210,000 cigarettes that were not declared by passengers on 578 separate occasions. These seizures represent a 54% increase on 2010 cigarette seizures and equates to over £36,000 in duty evasion. There were only 4 infractions in 2011 that could be considered to be of a commercial nature. 

In an attempt to raise the public’s awareness, while at the same time reducing this growing trend, Steven Le Marquand, Director, Legal Status and Revenue, has written to the relevant UK duty free shops / airlines reminding them of the cigarette allowance into the Island and requesting that they make passengers aware of this when they attempt to purchase cigarettes in excess of the allowance. A number of posters advising passengers to 'Stick to the Limit' have been purchased and displayed in the departure areas of both the airport and harbours. Customs and Immigration Officers will also run a number of risk testing exercises during the course of the year focusing particularly on this type of traffic.  

Steven Le Marquand commented “It was starting to become apparent that an increasing number of passengers were exceeding their statutory allowance for cigarettes on a regular basis. In light of this it was appropriate for us to take some appropriate proactive action to try and prevent this."

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