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Thread: UK Customs Checks

  1. #11
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Southampton dock gates were the same, in those days the driver would hold the baggage passes out to the copper, he felt what was under the passes usually a ten bob note, and waved us through. i don't know how many taxis went through the gates with the crew on pay off day from Castle line ships, one every week. i bet the coppers drove nice cars, holidays etc.
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Liverpool was the same Keith. JS
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Black View Post
    If the customs came on board in their boiler suits you knew they were going to do a rummage. Usually just a quick look depending on where the ship had been.
    Paid off in Hull once, where I believe they had a training base, we got a good going over though I think it was more a training exercise than in the expectation of finding anything.
    Regards Michael
    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    Liverpool was the same Keith. JS
    Too true John.
    On the Empress of Canada I got caught by the customs officer who when doing a search of my cabin noticed I was wearing a Seiko watch, he asked me when and where I had brought it. I told him two years ago in Japan, he asked me if I had ever declared it and when I told him I didn't think I had he immediately fined me £25 but he did give a receipt. This guy was part of the same gang who passed the head barkeeper on the gangway who ever trip was first down the gangway with two cricket sports bags full of booze that he flogged to pubs in the area. If paying off, apart from paying to dock copper on the gate. It was always good to leave a bottle in the customs shed to avoid any further checks.
    Avonmouth was also a place where you could almost expect a visit from the rummage gang as there was a customs training school nearby.
    One of the best dodges to fool the customs was a A.B who used smuggle pipe tobacco into London docks by unwrapping the flakes of tobacco and putting it on the wooden panelling in his cabin as it was the same colour and it just looked like beading on the panelling.
    rgds
    J.A

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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    There was rumour going around when I was UCL mailship, any confiscated contraband (booze) was consumed by the customs officers at Monday night party, heard that on more than occasion.
    Vic
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Could have ben true Vic, however i really dont think so somehow ! But stranger things have happened! LOL
    Talking of customs also brings back the memories of the Gate Customs , and all the stuff that went through those Gates with a backhander! Many a time i recall me doing this , with Booze and Fags!
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    On my first trip in 49 we took a load of wheat from Galveston to Hamburg, the Bosun had been a prisoner of war, he stood there looking at the custom guys as they crawled over the wheat searching for God knows what, he said if any of them start disappearing just walk away.
    Des
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Tindell View Post
    Southampton dock gates were the same, in those days the driver would hold the baggage passes out to the copper, he felt what was under the passes usually a ten bob note, and waved us through. i don't know how many taxis went through the gates with the crew on pay off day from Castle line ships, one every week. i bet the coppers drove nice cars, holidays etc.
    Same in Liverpool, the taxi driver used to say to the copper they're only cadets mate (£6 a month) but he still wanted his ten bob by uttering the words 'don't want to miss yer train do you son' hope the s o b got his come-uppance at some time

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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    #1 I think if I remember correctly but is not guaranteed that if the ship left The British section of the North Sea then a visit was almost assured by a boarding customs officer. Otherwise he was very conspicuous by his absence . JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 5th November 2023 at 11:13 AM.
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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Uk customs checks.
    I remember docking at the Royal Albert and a pile of custom guys waiting at the Gang plank.We knew it was coming as a cutter escorted us all the way from Brixton Pilot. We were due a survey of the steam Generator,the Chief Engineer got myself and the 4th to break the paint around the Tube end bolts before we docked. The rummage crew came on board and gave us a going over. when the came to the steam Genny they spotted the damaged paint work and called in the customs engineering branch they came in and opened the genny and pulled the tubes. The chief came down below when they had finished ,they found no contraband . The chief customs guy said they would put it back together the chief engineer said donít bother itís up for a lloyds survey . The chief was cunning old whatsit .
    My cigarette stash was safe as I put it on top of the septic tank and loosened the pump gland (what a stink ) They did find drugs hidden in the cargo of ground nuts. I think there must have been a tip off. The ship was fined as I think that must have been the practice.
    Them were the days
    Doug

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    Default Re: UK Customs Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    #1 I think if I remember correctly but is not guaranteed that if the ship left The British section of the North Sea then a visit was almost assured by a boarding customs officer. Otherwise he was very conspicuous by his absence . JS
    Hi John. Was it north of 60 or 62 degrees you were allowed a bond. On one occasion Ray McCrohon had 12 bottles set out in his cabin to hand out when we docked or paid off. The customs officer boarded as we dock and on seeing the bottles asked Ray for an explanation, he explained he was holding them for the crew. The customs guy a real jobs worth fined Ray and I think confiscated the bottles.
    Bill.

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