UK Smuggling. Is it still a real crime?
Smuggling conjures up visions of a down trodden individual who out smarts the authorities with daring deeds for the good of others. But that’s not the truth.
The UK has a long & often compelling history of smuggling, and there appears that things are much the same as 200 years ago.
The British are sympathetic usually to petty smuggling. Extra duty free cigarettes through airport customs is seen as a “perk”, a right. A challenge even.
One particular incident in 1991, introduced to the U.K a new, evil kind of smuggling which most of the British public were totally unaware of.
People smuggling. Morecambe Bay cockle pickers.
This particular type of smuggling usually starts with the offer of illegal work to individuals in the Far East who live in poverty. This recruitment is carried out by Chinese criminal gangs, operating within the recruits home land. Sometimes the victim is sold by the family to the gangs.
Those who arrive in the U.K are used to support mainly criminal activities. But they are bought and sold, and are better described as modern day slaves. Mainly teenagers or young adults, and even children, are imported into the U.K with regularity. Many thousands a year.
These individuals are put to work from nail bars and massage parlours, to drug farms and prostitution. This happens across the U.K more than is known about, and kept well below the radar.
Being an island it could be considered that the U.k would be easy to police and control what goes in or out of our borders.
Unfortunately serious under-investment over the last 30 years in U.K border controls, has allowed a serious amount of illicit drugs to enter Britain unchecked. An estimated tens of millions of GBP (£) per year of heroin get onto the U.K streets as a result.
Those who are caught being involved in this particular criminal activity seem to receive lenient custodial sentences. If someone has gained £50m through his drug importation activity, a 10 year prison sentence isn’t so bad. That’s equivalent to £5m a year, non-taxable earnings. The risk is worth it.
A new Political Party would heavily invest in the justice system and introduce new legislation to ensure Life meant Life for being convicted of a “commercial” sized illicit drug importation.
Legislation to :-
- Sufficient investment to rid the U.K of the illegal drugs trade completely
- All drug dealer related assets and gains, seized and denied the offender.
- New framework to assess how assets are considered “gains”, with the onus on the defendant to prove the courts wrong in that decision. Time scales to apply.
- anyone (knowingly) benefiting from the asset to be considered “living off” illicit gains / drug money, i.e anything in a spouse’s name, anything connected to a “legit” company supporting the import / supply chain.
- Life to mean Life sentencing involving amounts valued at £500,000 or more. No reprieves.
- Money / assets confiscated by the courts would be directed to the Treasury to supplement a National De-tox program for drug addicts.
Cigarettes / Alcohol smuggling
Some extra duty frees is always a bit tempting, but a whole van load ???
The constant trips across the channel to buy vast amounts of foreign cigarettes and alcohol, is almost a tradition. So much so, that it fuels an entire industry in supplying independent corner shops and friends and family.
Every trip of cut price booze and fags denies the U.K Treasury. Every packet or bottle of foreign bought products denies the NHS of much needed revenue. These lucrative trips are the perks of those who can afford the time and expense of regular channel crossings, in addition to Income support.
Stealing from the very hand they rely on to feed them.
A new Political Party is needed to create a new attitude to this massive tax evasion industry. From the smuggler to the shop keeper who sells on the contraband for personal profits on mass.
Therefore new legislation is required, and new legal processes should be adopted.
- Anyone found to be inside a commercial vehicle (van or larger) found at a ferry port with a significant amount of contraband would be arrested. The vehicle and contents seized.
- Usual investigative procedure to follow. No bail permitted.
- Defendant/s to appear at a Magistrates Court later that day.
- Custodial sentence mandatary.
- Sentencing if found guilty to commence immediately.
- Vehicle & contents used in the offence to become Crown property & disposed of at Courts instructions.
- Any shop keeper found to be in possession of, and intending to sell such contraband, a) fined a minimum of £10,000. b) Jail sentence to start at 3 months, c) HMCR to investigate potential tax frauds, d) Deportation from U.K if possible.
- H.M Navy to be used in whatever way to defend our shores from illicit drug importation.