I do not take responsibility for your actions if you decide to try this. my knowledge has come from friends over the years and I would like to clarify I have not taken part in any of these activities.A guide on smuggling and profiting from tobacco (England and Mainland EuropeA preamble:
I have decided to make guides aimed at the UK user, as many of these guides discuss activities for Americans. As alright and fine as that is, it's nice to know that someone out there is representing the UK in making knowledge free. It is possible to replace "tobacco" with "alcohol" in this guide. Just know the limits you can bring back
This guide is designed for somebody who can afford to take time off from work and commitments. You cannot seriously profit from taking a few trips a year. The people I know did it every week, and it was their main source of income. You don't have to do it for long, but a few months is a good length of time.
Book time off. Say, a weekend. You just need to get to Belgium and back. The Eurostar is a great way, or the ferry to Calais and driving. You will need a vehicle for this, too.Contents.
Before you go.
- Before you go.
- Rolling tobacco vs Cigarettes.
- legal implications.
- Best places to buy tobacco and best tobacco.
- What to do after buying the tobacco.
- The journey back.
- Customs documents.
As I said, you will need a car for this. It may be possible to do this on foot, but the quantities will be much smaller and your chances of being caught, much higher.
A good car to go for would be a family-type car. One which looks as though you're a typical family man kinda thing. The "grey man" theory works well here, as you just have to blend in.
Work out your journey to the Port and try to buy tickets in advance (you can get 6 and 12 month reserve booking blocks) to look as though you are a regular visitor. They tend to have more trust in you then.
Build up a rappor with the staff at the Port. Know names and try to befriend as many Staff as possible. This won't be easy with Customs. It works well with Passport Control though. If you know anyone that smokes a certain brand of tobacco then buy that. The more types of tobacco you purchase then the more likely you'll be fucked if caught as why would someone have 3+ types of tobacco?
Also look through your bags/car before leaving for anything else that Customs may like. A friend of mine found a load of blank ammunition en-route to a Port and had to dispose of them in a hurry. You never know. it isn't worth the risk getting through with the tobacco, but getting fucked for something else.
*THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS GUIDE*
The maximum amount of tobacco you can legally bring back into the UK for personal consumption is 3kg (3 blocks in this guide). Never say you are selling or doing it as a favour. If Customs sense you are even getting a penny for this work they will bust your ass there and then as well as blacklisting you for every other time you travel, so Customs flag you up.
The average "block" of tobacco costs around €40, and so take into account the money you will spend.
10 x 50g packs = 1 "block" (1kg) = €40 (1 pack = €4)
Also take into account the distance. You should have already done that when planning in the prior step, to be honest. Petrol costs more and more as the days go on, so hence the regularity of this activity. To get anywhere, profit will have to be made.Best places to buy tobacco and the best tobacco.
You can take pre-orders for friends. Of course, make sure they are trustworthy. Other than that, look at what the most popular brand of rolling tobacco is where you reside/work/would like to sell.
I know Golden Virginia sells well, and that it costs 40E for 1 block of tobacco. I would then sell a 50g pack for £8, doubling my money in each transaction, making my money back + £40. It is possible to look online at the shops.
Big Tobacco is a good company, and there are many more in Belgium that sell cheap tobacco. Next to Luxembourg, it's the cheapest and most convenient place to go to make money off of flogging tobacco. The town you need to look at is Adinkurke. Many people assume France is the best place.
No.Rolling tobacco vs Cigarettes
There is little money to be made in buying cigarettes because of the extra cost that goes into producing them and their fancy packs. Rolling tobacco is up to 20% cheaper in come places and that could pay for your petrol. Get to know people who smoke well-known brande such as Golden Virginia, Drum or Cutters Choice so you can confidently buy them the tobacco without fear of not selling it.Legal Implications.
If you are caught smuggling above the 3kg import limit, then expect your car and purchases to be seized. Court proceedings can be put in place but that is only for repeat smugglers.
Now you know they like the look of your car and will impound it, using a different car for different journeys can help. Once you are caught you are effectively blacklisted and every journey you make abroad for the next 5 years or so, your name will appear on the passenger list with a note saying you were caught smuggling items, and so Big Brother will be looking at you that bit closer.
More info.What to do after buying the tobacco.
You may get a free beer, lighter pack or gift with your purchase. Consume it. Do not accept lighters and rip up/burn any receipts. You could bin them but I like the peace of mind.
Place the tobacco in a black bag if it is not in one already. Don't have any branding of the shop or purchase on you at all in case you get pulled over, as Customs know every shop in a given area in Belgium, Luxembourg or France due to the amount of people they pull over. You aren't going to be one of them
So wrap the tobacco up in a black (bin?) bag and put it in your car. Don't hide it just in case you do get pulled over as it's still possible to blag your way through if you can convice the Customs lot is is for personal use or a gift. Never, ever, EVER let on that you're even selling this for 1p as that's illegal. Never say you do it often and but a couple of Rizla packs, too...
Place the tobacco in the boot of your car or on the back seat (depending how much you have). Never keep it in 1 place, so put a few blocks in the boot and a few on the backseat/in the footwell. If Customs look through the window of your car and see a small amount they may pass you through. Also buy some beer, not only as it's cheap, but will show to anyone who's nosey that you didn't just go for the tobacco, which will ring alarm bells in their eyes as it's not that economically viable unless you're selling! You can also sell the booze too
Get the look.
You have 3kg+ of rolling tobacco. You either smoke or don't. If you do, then look like a rollie smoker when you go through Customs. If you don't smoke then buy a couple of Rizla packs and filters, as well as a plain, unmarked lighter. You have to convince Customs this is either for your own use or a gift. Either way, it may come in handy to look the part. If you smoke, I'm sure you'll smell the part, too.
The journey back.
As you leave the Continent, Customs rarely check you. Why would they when you're leaving their Country? Whatever method you are using to get back (Eurotunnel/Eurostar/Ferry) look around at the people. I can guarantee you that you aren't the only one smuggling more than you're allowed. Rest assured that many people do this and only the stupid ones who either brag about it, are repeat offenders (who have been caught more than once) or take ridiculous amounts back are caught. Cool your nerves. Avoid alcohol as I assume you're driving and don't want Customs to smell it on your breath, or at Passport Control.
Once you disembark, in a car you will be in a long queue. HGV lorries etc will go to one side and be scanned. Cars etc will go through another lane. My friends said that the busiest days are the best, as Customs are more than likely searching some other poor soul's car. Weekends and holidays are the best time, as are evenings as people are going to/from Europe to stay for a weekend or return from work (if they work abroad).
Once you pass Passport Control and approach Customs, keep a cool nerve. Make eye contact if need be, smile and act normal. Normal means:
- Don't be reserved or shy. Be confident, because you've done nothing wrong. Right?
- Put on some music. Chill out.
- Know that every metre you drive is another metre to freedom.
In other words, convince yourself you've done nothing wrong. In the eyes of Society, you haven't! Many people, as I said, do this. The main reasons are due to the ridiculous price people in the UK pay for tobacco, and so-called "booze cruise" passengers used to do this most weekends. Thanks to the Government, however, this is now becoming less economically viable, and so people are turning to tobacco instead of booze.Selling.
So 1 block of tobacco (10 x 50g pouches of rolling tobacco) costs between €40-47 which works out at between €4-4.70 a pouch. Convert that to GBP and it's about £3.50ish depending on currency fluctuations.
In the shops, 50g pouhes of tobacco cost in the region of £12. Sell them for about £8 and you are making a profit and
doing your mates a favour! Charge more for dickheads. The price of the tobacco is
printed on a little sticker on the pouch, so say the following if anyone asks:
- "Those numbers are the duty paid on top of the cost value."
- "Yes I paid that much, but I have to make up for petrol, and you're still saving £4!"
People usually don't care. They see cheap tobacco and before long you'll have a regular customer base which brings me onto the next section...Tips.
- Delete all texts on your phone going in and out of a Country. When you leave to go abroad, delete all texts. When you are abroad you can text, however delete all texts on the journey back to the port to come home. This includes sent and received items as Customs can go through your phone, and seeing a text regarding your activities from a mate can give you away, no matter how good of a liar you are that it's only for you. If possible, text your mates when you're just going to the port saying not to text you until you call them, that way you won't get an embarrassing text if you are pulled over by Customs even if you deleted everything.
- Don't take photos of your haul. This is suicide. In fact, delete most pictures. Keep a few family ones or whatever on there to demonstrate you're a regular guy. If you have nothing on your phone then it looks suspicious. The same with the opposite. If you take a photo of your wares then Customs can say it's effectively "advertising", accusing you of sending pictures to people so they know how much you have purchased. Even if you haven't. Always think "what would a jury say?"...good exercise for any dubious activity.
- Don't go too often. How fast can you smoke your way through 3kg of tobacco? Exactly. Customs and Immigration do see who goes through and how often. Ferry and other companies do hand over passenger lists to the Authorities.
- Don't brag. Loose lips sink ships. Not your ferry, but possibly your life. It's all well and good being caught smuggling, as you may not be punished that badly depending on the amount you bring back. What is shit, however, is being caught in the UK as the penalty for selling bootleg tobacco is up to £5,000 and an unspecified jail sentence as well as seizure of assets, regardless of if they helped you or were profit (computer, money, expensive purchases). Only sell to mates and/or family. If someone starts talking to others, stop immediately. Undercover Police are everywhere and talk travels fast, especially if the person doing it has something to gain and nothing to lose. This is what catches most people out.
is the Customs and Excise page for what you can and can't bring into the UK.
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