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Found 18 results

  1. Hi, our shippers send us this customs form where they ask all these question of things you need to declare? Do you have to mention the feather duvets? How much detail do they want at the question of wooden items? Do you write ALL things wood from beds and tables to wooden kids train set and little wooden fruit bowl or little wooden paper organiser? I am so scared I miss something off that should have been on there. I have asked our shippers a few things, but I don't agree with not mentioning certain things. We have bedside cabinets with basket drawers and was told just to put bedside cabinets. I'm not sure that is the right thing to do. :no: What did you folks declared? Cheers.
  2. Hi all, Just filling in the police check forms and need to know if we need to put down driving offences as you are read the rights when you are stopped.:policeman: Thanks in advance
  3. A pastor with a well-thumbed Bible. A smartly dressed businessman in suit and tie. A British pensioner with a cool box full of fish and meat... Can you guess which one is trying to smuggle illegal contraband into the UK?* Adam Luck joins the frontline battle to secure Britain's borders (*Answer: It's all three) An X-ray image of a Caribbean woman arrested at Gatwick Airport. Pellets of cocaine, ringed here in red, were spotted by UK Border Agency officials when the woman went through the full body scanner With a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders, a thirtysomething South American opens his suitcase. He looks cool and calm. Inside there’s an apparently anarchic collection of jackets, men’s T-shirts, children’s trousers and a woman’s dress jumbled up alongside computer cables, phone chargers and assorted odds and ends. The suitcase doesn’t reveal any obviously damning evidence – no drugs, weapons or animals are visible. But 29-year-old UK Border Agency (UKBA) officer Richard Franklin can see beyond the chaotic contents of the luggage, and alerts his colleagues that they have a potential drug mule in their midst. We are in the green customs channel of Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal on a Wednesday morning and tanned passengers coming off the Thomson Airways flight from Jamaica’s Montego Bay are shuffling through with their duty free shopping. Five UKBA officers are standing by with arms crossed – some wearing rubber gloves – under the watchful eye of chief immigration officer Paul Kidd, but for the time being they are happy to let their colleague deal with it. At the same time as he unravels the tangled innards of the suitcase, Franklin also unpicks the complex itinerary of the stocky Venezuelan man who talks in halting English as he tries to explain his journey and his bag. ‘A woman gave me some clothes,’ he says. ‘I was in Port Of Spain. I take them for her.’ The reason why is never made clear, but what is plain is that this passenger’s itinerary has set alarm bells ringing because of his circuitous, expensive route from Venezuela to London. Starting in Caracas, the man travelled to Trinidad’s Port of Spain and on to London, and he was then scheduled to continue to Amsterdam. His ‘holiday’ was supposed to last all of four days. ‘His route is highly unusual and suspicious,’ says Franklin. ‘Why would an ordinary Venezuelan travel along such an expensive route and spend only four days on holiday before travelling back? He also admitted he had never been to Amsterdam before. It made no sense. ‘His bag also fits the profile of a “dummy” case that we often see with couriers, who are either swallowers or who conceal drugs in their baggage. They then throw together any clothes or items to make it look as if the trip is legitimate. But why would he be travelling alone with women’s and children’s clothes?’ With no signs that the suitcase had any concealed panels Franklin begins to suspect that the South American may have swallowed dozens of cocaine-filled condoms in order to smuggle them into the UK. The size of cocktail sausages, these tiny packages are swallowed one at a time. The average is between 80-110 packages per person, which can equate to up to 1.5kg of cocaine. Once mixed with cutting agents, this would have a street value of up to £300,000. Experienced swallowers can carry even more pellets. The Gatwick record, which is held by a Jamaican woman, is a barely believable 205 pellets – almost 2.5kg of drugs. A Spanish-speaking UKBA officer is called for, and the man is told he can volunteer for a full body scan or face the prospect of being detained and missing his connecting flight. With a nod the suspect is taken through a door in the back of the hall and ushered into a narrow corridor well away from other passengers, before being taken into the scanner room. Franklin takes his seat alongside a colleague behind a desk with two screens. The suspect, who looks surprisingly sanguine, is instructed to sign various forms while the UKBA officers start up the scanner. Wearing a pair of jeans, jerkin jacket, blue-and-white-striped shirt and black slip-on trainers, the close-cropped South American empties his pockets before stripping down to his trousers and socks. In the small airless room the suspect moves towards the scanner while he is instructed to breathe in and out. Within seconds amazingly clear images begin to flash up on the screens that lay bare the man’s body in intimate detail. If he is a ‘swallower’, then tell-tale circular shadows will show up in the man’s stomach. There are none on this man: he is clean. ‘The thing is, a smuggler can be anyone,’ says Paul Kidd, walking out of the room. ‘We have had them wearing suits and looking like the perfect businessman. They do not always fit into the stereotype.’ In April they even had a pastor. ‘He really looked the part and had all these well-thumbed Bibles in his suitcase. I think he was a genuine pastor,’ says officer Johnson Awoyomi. ‘He had flyers for his services and said he was on his way to Nigeria for a revivalist conference. He had flown in from Antigua but lived in Trinidad and was just passing through the UK. We asked him if he would voluntarily go through the scanner and he agreed. He was a swallower. He just sat there looking genuinely bewildered and kept saying that he was a “Good Christian”.’ Those caught with condom pellets are funnelled back into the corridor where a cell awaits them just 20 yards away. They will be detained until they ‘pass’ their drugs into the stainless steel ‘Drugaloo’. Some swallowers refuse to cooperate in the hope that they can conceal the evidence but this can mean a long wait. ‘One guy wouldn’t eat anything,’ says Kidd. ‘We were getting a bit fed up waiting for him to pass the pellets so in the end some of the staff ate fish and chips outside his custody suite. He got so hungry he had to eat and, in the end, it all came out. But the price these couriers pay can be very high. A couple of years ago one lady collapsed and died here. The drugs had leaked out from the pellets.’ According to Richard Franklin, fewer than one in ten stopped are found to have swallowed drugs. ‘You look at their profiles and any inconsistencies in their stories but there is never a guarantee of a result,’ he says. Instead of taking a left out of the scanner room towards the Drugaloo, the South American takes a right and finds his way back into the customs channel and freedom. He will travel on to Amsterdam and then home. The chances are that he will be back in the future. Whether he will be stopped again is far from clear. Created in 2008, the UKBA merged the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) with the crime busting functions of Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The logic underlying its creation is that since the organised criminal groups who smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK are often the same people who smuggle illegal goods into the country it makes sense to have a unified agency. Although there are currently 25,000 staff at the UKBA the agency is expected to take a 20 per cent budget cut as part of the Government’s spending review, with nearly 7,000 staff expected to go over the next four years. The unions have predicted that this could lead to even greater illegal immigration, but as alarming is that the UK’s borders could be compromised when it comes to detecting and seizing illegal drugs, weapons or worse. Indeed, the rush to deal with public concern over illegal immigration may have serious repercussions. Recent reports by John Vine, independent chief inspector of the UKBA, suggest that too often detection of contraband came second to the crackdown on immigration. Given the explosion in global trade and travel into and through the UK, this is no idle threat. One of the downsides of globalisation has been the parallel expansion in transnational networks of criminals and international terrorism. At Gatwick there are around 560 staff who focus on immigration and detection, whether it is freight or people. Gatwick is Europe’s ninth busiest airport, with 31 million passengers passing through last year. Any chance that the UKBA staff numbers could be depleted and performance impaired shouldn’t be taken lightly because the stakes are high. Just how high can be seen in the green customs channel at Gatwick. The Cyclamen gate, which passengers routinely walk under, is a radiation scanner designed to prevent the importation of so-called dirty bombs by detecting nuclear and radiological materials that could be used by terrorists. The machine was introduced in the aftermath of the radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Russian agents were suspected of bringing in radioactive material through Heathrow Airport. As soon as an alarm sounds a CCTV camera starts taking images of the suspect. Thus far no one has been arrested at Gatwick for triggering the alarm but Cyclamen machines have now been deployed across Britain’s ports and airports. The Itemiser is another detection machine, which tests samples of luggage and clothing for traces of heroin or cocaine. A simple swab is fed into the machine which can register ‘drugs detected’. Anything above a one per cent trace is taken as serious enough to warrant closer inspection and such is the sensitivity of the machine that it can detect drugs in the sweat of swallowers, which can often be found in and around their shoes. They are joined by full body scanners, which can help identify Class A drugs concealed under clothes or inside the body. But however much technology is introduced, you still need the trained eye. Back in the customs channel at Gatwick, Kidd and his team are getting on with their jobs. One passenger, who looks East African in origin but holds a British passport, has been stopped by officer Pravin Patel. His suitcase contains packets marked ‘Sildenafil Citrate’, more commonly known as Viagra, but the packets hint that these are counterfeit medicines. Boxes of Benson & Hedges and Embassy cigarettes also exceed his personal allowance, so he loses all the boxes. At an adjoining table a Polish man, with heavily accented English, is arguing the point with Johnson Awoyomi over his large cache of cigarettes and bags of biltong, which he has brought in from South Africa. ‘I take a chance…’ admits the passenger. Awoyomi eventually sends the gentleman on his way minus his cigarettes and dried meat. ‘He knew he was taking a risk. You don’t have three cigarette brands for personal use.’ Passengers who try to bring in more than their allotted amount of cigarettes are logged on a computer and if they are caught for a third time they can find themselves arrested and charged. Biltong, however, is just a very modest example of the strange and exotic items that Patel and his colleagues come across. ‘I had a headless monkey once,’ says Kidd. ‘It was a man from Sierra Leone who had been held up for immigration reasons. We opened the case and there was this monkey. I think it had been cured or smoked. ‘You get all sorts: rotting fish used to be quite common; people would bring them in from West Africa. Once we had someone come in with 20 bags of manky fish.’ But some of the passengers moving along the customs channels at Gatwick have far more illicit contraband on board. At 64, Patel is one of the oldest and most experienced officers. He has seen it all. ‘One South African couple came into the terminal at 7am,’ he remembers. ‘They had flown from Jo’burg via Dubai. They had 40 kilos of cannabis in blocks on them. He pleaded guilty. ‘Another time we had a retired British couple. He had been a London Underground driver. They went to Kingston, Jamaica, and came back with two cool boxes. They used fish and meat to cover six kilos of cocaine. Their story was just not right, which is why we stopped them. The lady got 13 years.’ Patel has become immune to the temper tantrums and insults. ‘You sometimes get shouting and bags being thrown but we have a lot of power here. I know how to calm them down: I just ignore them and carry on with the work. When you pull someone you start talking to them and the bells start to ring if the story does not match. You ask questions around drugs, allowances, baggage, the nature of the journey, their employment, how often they travel and where they go. You also have a look in their passport because the stamps usually tell you a story.’ As he talks a young African man walks by waving a piece of paper and smiling. Kidd pipes up: ‘We allow temporary admission to allow further enquiries by immigration officers. We take their passport while we check out their story.’ The UKBA also has staff abroad to help profile potential suspects. Often the luggage and the passenger will already have had their fate sealed before they are reunited on the baggage carousel because sniffer dogs paw over the mountains of bags being brought out of the aeroplane holds. Clare Honeyman and sniffer dog Flynn are on duty at Gatwick. Flynn, who has been trained in-house, has been working his beat for a year. ‘Spaniels are the best because they have the drive and motivation,’ she says. ‘It is a good game for them: they smell the heroin and cocaine and they get to play with a tennis ball as their reward. Our best haul was six kilos of cocaine last year. 'If we get a positive the bag goes back on the belt and is watched in the baggage hall before the passenger is pulled as they walk through the customs channel.’ Once customs detection officers and immigration officials at Gatwick were strictly delineated, but the UKBA now wants multi-disciplinary teams that can attend to both tasks. This multi-tasking kicks in this summer, but some officers are concerned about the long-term implications. ‘What we are looking for has not changed but the priorities of the management have because of politics,’ claims one officer, who asked to remain anonymous. ‘At the moment it is all about illegals. I feel like we have all our eggs in one basket with immigration, which is why so many drugs are on the street.’ For the Gatwick officers dealing with the realities of an ever-shrinking workforce and ever-increasing numbers of passengers and freight, such developments may appear largely academic but they are aware of what is at stake for the UK. After 20 years in the job Kerry Smith, 40, is still as dedicated to defending Britain’s borders today as the day she started it. ‘I want to do the best I can,’ she says. ‘We all do. I just hope that the politicians are listening.’
  4. Hi My daughter received a coral necklace as a christening gift which is very old and been in the family a while. I am wondering how to play it when we move. Do I contact immigration prior and get a special license to import it or do I turn up and if they ask, plead ignorance?? What is peoples experiences with similar items. I certainly do not want it to get banned. Many thanks in advance
  5. hi, situation is like this, one of my OH's friend were sent back by immigration authorities in one of the middle east country due to his tourist visa expiry date ,however they do not put any stamp on his passport. and now they were applied for 175 visa and didn't think too much about this incident. is it something to worry? now my frined is little worrying . any help would be appreciate thxxxx jess
  6. Hi, Is there any one here who experienced the same predicament as I'm in right now? I have hypertension (mild) for more than a year now and have been taking medicine since I was diagnosed with such a health condition. I'm worried of the impact that this could bring to my medical exams which I'm planning to take early next year. Should I declare it or not? Any advise would be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance and happy new year to all. 3jps
  7. I'm a happy camper, I've just booked a flight with BA to go back to Blighty in February. BA have an offer running during the ashes where the highest innings that England get's in a test is deducted in dollars from the normal price. I therefore just got a $620 discount on the return ticket from Adelaide so paid $1450 - why oh why did England have to declare on 620 I reckon I would have ended up with a free ticket if they had just carried on batting! Daniel
  8. I'm filing claim for my tax back on UK allowance as leave in next few weeks. I have some savings in UK accounts and have put some in parents names so only an ISA in my name but have other funds to store. Will HMRC find out about these accounts if I dont declare them? It seems more hassle than it's worth. Or should I just declare? Also Can I put them in off shore accounts to avoid HMRC? Additionally How will Aus find out about these accounts if I don't tell them? Advice appreciated
  9. Hi Everyone Does anyone know if you need to declare that you are in the progress of a visa app at Australia customs when you go there on holiday? We are planning on visiting soon and want to be prepared. Should we take some paperwork with us? Thanks,:unsure:
  10. Interesting read (lol): Billionaires Pankaj and Radhika Oswal declare meat war on building site | News.com.au More about Oswal couple: Meet the Oswals | The Australian
  11. loubylou475

    criminal record history to declare

    Hi all, we've decided to go through the visa application without an agent. Just got to the 'declaration of any convictions' part.... my naughty OH got done for drink-driving in 1996 (morning-after scenario, worried may return to haunt him!) wondered if anyone has had a similar dilema, my gut feeling is to declare all but even though its 13 yrs ago I'm worried it may jeopardise our application. The offence is not applicable on his driver's license after 10 yrs but not sure if it remains on his records. Nothing else to declare!!!! Should I check with the police? Lou.x
  12. My husband was given a 6 month driving ban about 5 years ago due to the totting up system. Would he need to declare this on his visa application (176) No custodial sentence at all and no points on licence since?
  13. I have only just started work in Australia on a temp resident visa (309). I don't get PR status until April 2010. Because I worked a couple of weeks in June I have to submit a tax return, however do I have to include my UK income as I have already paid tax on it. I included it in my current wage and found I owed the tax office 5 times what I had been paid in Australia. I should be getting a $300 refund not over $10000 bill. Help please
  14. hi all, my partner can't read or write very well, and i have had to help him with his form and writing up his personal statment from england and he is in oz. should i declare that i helped him? well i know i have to but am worried it will look like i am doing everything for him and making sure it is right because they may think i am using him to gaim residency, it's just that they are going to see the difference in his writting, from cards, letters and emails he has written me, ahhrrrr. also he mention in his personal statment that he does struggle with reading and writting, etc etc, he also has adhd and That me(Nadineis very understanding, supportive and helpful) any reasurrance etc etc would be brill :arghh: am applying for a prospective marriage visa
  15. I know i will need to declare all presecription drugs but do i have to tell them about vitamin tablets? I will be taking multi vits. calcium and iron tablets all brought over the counter, also a herbal tablet for healthy hair. Will i have problems taking all these with me as I need to take them all daily since my operation in May. Many thanks Emma x
  16. Guest

    Medicals- what to declare?

    Just wondering to what extent do you declare in the medical form? ie I have had a mole removed as it was very dark, so would I answer yes to having medical treatment? Also I had a whiplash injury about 11 years ago after a minor car crash, so would I therefore have to answer yes to having had back or neck pain? I'm just worried all this will hold things up. Has anyone else had to answer yes to the list of medical questions on the form? I don't wamt to lie but don't want to put stupid things down. Was maybe going to ask the doctor at the medical.
  17. tracy123

    nothing to declare tv

    Hi all Nothing to declare, is back on tv channel 112 LIVING tonight from 8 to 9pm
  18. daniel

    Nothing to Declare

    Just found a new programme starting tonight at 9pm on Livingtv2 called Nothing to Declare. Thought it might be quite interesting and possibly amusing or vice versa to all those thinking of going down under. It's about the Australian border controls, quite relevant I think. Livingtv2 is Sky Channel 114 if you were wondering.