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Heathrow customs seize 300kg of banned food in one day

19 Jul 2006

In one day customs offices at Heathrow airport confiscated over 300kg of banned food stuffs, earlier this month.

Other confiscated items include baby Cayman crocodiles, fake watches and counterfeit designer clothes.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is highlighting the problem to make sure tourists are not caught out with goods they are not allowed to bring back from holiday.

Paul Stephenson, HMRC head of detection at Heathrow, said: 'We want travellers to have a safe and happy holiday this summer, but we do need to reinforce these messages to the public. Restrictions on what can and cannot be brought back into the UK are set by the government to protect the UK and its citizens.

'We get a lot of passengers through Heathrow who either exceed their duty free limit or who attempt to bring in banned or restricted goods. The majority of these travellers genuinely do not realise they are breaking the law.'

He added: 'However, there are also passengers who try and flout the rules and we want to send a clear message to them, that we have a strong presence at Heathrow Airport and will be on hand to ensure that the rules are enforced.'

HMRC has also given out a series of tips to help tourists being caught out.

Firstly, people should check their duty free allowances before flying especially if they are coming home from outside the EU although they should make sure they do not bring in too much tobacco or alcohol from within the EU.

Travellers should also check that what they buy abroad even in the EU is legal in the UK. Those returning are often forced to part with plants, DVDs and local delicacies -especially meat or dairy products.

Tourists are also being warned to avoid buying any good they feel might be counterfeit as such holiday bargains can be seized.

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