Jersey Customs duty free checks take focus off drugs

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Customs officers are spending time monitoring duty free rules when they should be stopping drugs getting into Jersey, the head of the service said.

Last year the number of items seized by the service at Jersey’s ports doubled.

A big part of that was a rise in people breaking their allowance for duty free cigarettes.

Michael Robinson, the head of Jersey Customs and Immigration, said it was distracting officers from doing more serious work.

He said: “If we are doing this sort of work at the frontiers it takes us away from our priority which is looking for prohibited goods such as controlled drugs.”

He said passengers were not always aware of the duty free limits, especially when there were special offers available.

The Customs and Immigration Service said it seized 210,000 cigarettes last year from people coming into Jersey.

It said that was a 54% increase on 2010 and added up to £36,000 in duty evasion.

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