UK is a nation of smugglers

1 May 2014

The UK is still a nation of smugglers, with one in five holidaymakers concealing illegal or controlled goods when they head through customs.

A survey from found that 20% of us walk through the nothing to declare door at customs while returning from holiday, despite knowing we're carrying more than the duty free allowance permits.

Unsurprisingly, cigarettes (46%), alcohol (29%), cigars and cigarettes (25%) make up the three most frequently smuggled items, while perfume and aftershave (15%) and electronic gadgets (13%) make up the top five.

Remarkably, weapons, pornography, and live animals, also make the top 10, accounting for 4% of items smuggled.

The research found that youngsters are far more likely to be stopped at customs, with 27% of 18 to 24 year olds walking through unchallenged on the last occasion they had something to hide, compared to 88% of 55 to 65 year olds and 100% over 65s.

More than half (52%) of smugglers said they would likely do it again.

Criminal charges

Caroline Lloyd, from Travel Insurance, said: "Understanding what you can and can't take through customs can be a complicated business but to learn that one in five UK holidaymakers had knowingly smuggled cigarettes, alcohol and other goods through customs was a shock.

"Although most holidaymakers caught out by customs officials either paid the duty, had their goods confiscated or received a caution, more serious smuggling can obviously lead to criminal charges which could make it difficult to travel to other countries in the future."

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