Police swoop on cigarette scavengers

HAUL: Police and Border Agency staff with hundreds of packets of cigarettes they have intercepted from members of the public on Chesil Beach

HAUL: Police and Border Agency staff with hundreds of packets of cigarettes they have intercepted from members of the public on Chesil Beach

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

SCAVENGERS are having their pickings plucked from their hands after thousands of cigarettes washed up on Portland.

As reported in the Echo, a cargo ship lost a number of containers and it crossed the channel in storms earlier this month.

There was estimated to be around 11 million cigarettes in the shipment, which was travelling from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka.

Although coastguards were busy cleaning up a beached container at Axmouth in Devon on Monday, Portlanders awoke on Tuesday morning to find Chesil Beach littered with cigarette packets. The coastguard, police and local authorities have been working together to collect and secure the cigarettes.

But members of the public have been trying their luck and attempting make make off with bags of fags.

They are being monitored and swooped on by police and Border Agency staff.

Mobile teams are reportedly waiting at various locations, watching people collect their cigarettes and then intercepting at the last minute to take them away.

A member of Border Agency staff at the beach said: “We are letting them spend in some cases hours collecting the packets and we then intercept them up after all their hard work and relieve them of their cargo.”

HMRC spokesman Bob Gaiger told the Echo that the washed up cigarettes are ‘not going to be worth smoking.’ He warned members of the public to leave them where they are and said he anticipated more to be washed up in the coming days.

It is believed that most of the loose containers are in the channel approximately 75 miles off Land’s End.

But members of the public who may spot any further beached containers are asked to call the coastguard immediately.

Comments (39)

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8:02am Thu 27 Feb 14

arlbergbahn says...

Funny how the Authorities can always manage to be ruthlessly efficient when it comes to Swooping on anyone who may be Cheating HM Revenue & Customs out of the extortion due to them, but they can never manage to find the time or resources to do anything helpful, isn't it.
Funny how the Authorities can always manage to be ruthlessly efficient when it comes to Swooping on anyone who may be Cheating HM Revenue & Customs out of the extortion due to them, but they can never manage to find the time or resources to do anything helpful, isn't it. arlbergbahn
  • Score: 56

9:14am Thu 27 Feb 14

thatguyyouknow says...

If they are below the tide line then customs have no claim on them.....
If they are below the tide line then customs have no claim on them..... thatguyyouknow
  • Score: 8

9:40am Thu 27 Feb 14

bigfatlad says...

Just had a thought. Any local boat owners might like to put to sea and fish packets out of the briny - just watch out for Dibble bearing down on you in a superfast Police launch.

In the meantime, anyone being offered suspiciously cheap fags in a local pub is advised to come online and let local smokers know which pub it wasso's they have the chance of a bargain before Customs & Excise get there. ( The Smugglers Inn in Osmington Mills might be a good place for this sort of trade .... )
Just had a thought. Any local boat owners might like to put to sea and fish packets out of the briny - just watch out for Dibble bearing down on you in a superfast Police launch. In the meantime, anyone being offered suspiciously cheap fags in a local pub is advised to come online and let local smokers know which pub it wasso's they have the chance of a bargain before Customs & Excise get there. ( The Smugglers Inn in Osmington Mills might be a good place for this sort of trade .... ) bigfatlad
  • Score: 13

10:03am Thu 27 Feb 14

chesilboy says...

thatguyyouknow wrote:
If they are below the tide line then customs have no claim on them.....
UK territory begins 12 miles out to sea.... Either way you wouldn't be able to bring them ashore....

This situation is also more relevant to salvage law (ownership etc.) rather than customs.
[quote][p][bold]thatguyyouknow[/bold] wrote: If they are below the tide line then customs have no claim on them.....[/p][/quote]UK territory begins 12 miles out to sea.... Either way you wouldn't be able to bring them ashore.... This situation is also more relevant to salvage law (ownership etc.) rather than customs. chesilboy
  • Score: 13

10:57am Thu 27 Feb 14

shy talk says...

Honest Gov, just helping the environment doing a beach clean.
Honest Gov, just helping the environment doing a beach clean. shy talk
  • Score: 8

11:09am Thu 27 Feb 14

Gordon Bennett says...

It is surprising the resources that are available when the govt might lose a few quid in customs revenue. Whole teams of officers on the beach this morning with their large plastic bags. Just a shame the same resources never seem to be available when it comes to burglary and vandalism.
It is surprising the resources that are available when the govt might lose a few quid in customs revenue. Whole teams of officers on the beach this morning with their large plastic bags. Just a shame the same resources never seem to be available when it comes to burglary and vandalism. Gordon Bennett
  • Score: 31

12:04pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Dorset stuff says...

That is hilarious, Customs sits there and watches the local gypos pick up all the fags and then takes them off them. Sounds like good thinking to me.
That is hilarious, Customs sits there and watches the local gypos pick up all the fags and then takes them off them. Sounds like good thinking to me. Dorset stuff
  • Score: 11

2:36pm Thu 27 Feb 14

cosmick says...

SWOOPED on by police and border agency staff!
Shame they dont swoop on the people who end up in the IMMIGRATION REMOVAL CENTER when there on the beach.
SWOOPED on by police and border agency staff! Shame they dont swoop on the people who end up in the IMMIGRATION REMOVAL CENTER when there on the beach. cosmick
  • Score: 17

3:28pm Thu 27 Feb 14

woodsedge says...

Dorset stuff wrote:
That is hilarious, Customs sits there and watches the local gypos pick up all the fags and then takes them off them. Sounds like good thinking to me.
It's not so funny when you live in Chiswell and these scavengers throw packets of cigarettes and loose sodden cigarettes all over the place. I have no sympathy with the police and equally I have no sympathy for the idiots littering the area.
[quote][p][bold]Dorset stuff[/bold] wrote: That is hilarious, Customs sits there and watches the local gypos pick up all the fags and then takes them off them. Sounds like good thinking to me.[/p][/quote]It's not so funny when you live in Chiswell and these scavengers throw packets of cigarettes and loose sodden cigarettes all over the place. I have no sympathy with the police and equally I have no sympathy for the idiots littering the area. woodsedge
  • Score: 5

5:35pm Thu 27 Feb 14

portland maid says...

I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant.
Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?!
I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant. Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?! portland maid
  • Score: -11

6:37pm Thu 27 Feb 14

common cence says...

portland maid wrote:
I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant.
Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?!
Like horses on the footpaths
[quote][p][bold]portland maid[/bold] wrote: I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant. Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?![/p][/quote]Like horses on the footpaths common cence
  • Score: -6

7:09pm Thu 27 Feb 14

wurzelbasher says...

11 million cancer sticks!
11 million cancer sticks! wurzelbasher
  • Score: 1

9:10pm Thu 27 Feb 14

cosmick says...

portland maid wrote:
I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant.
Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?!
They are here because of idiots like you.Pay nothing take everything.
[quote][p][bold]portland maid[/bold] wrote: I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant. Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?![/p][/quote]They are here because of idiots like you.Pay nothing take everything. cosmick
  • Score: 4

7:47am Fri 28 Feb 14

The Fish says...

portland maid wrote:
I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant.
Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?!
I think you'll find they broke the law when their visa expired!
[quote][p][bold]portland maid[/bold] wrote: I fail to see why we need to have a go at the people in the Immigration Centre? They are not prisoners ? And that is not very caring of their plight is it Cosmick, most of them have not broken even one law, they are here as they stayed too long past their visa but have no money to go or nowhere safe to go; unlike the people trying to break the law because its 'easy pickings'. I think you need an empathy implant. Apparently there are bags of Iams dog and cat food down there today, ?![/p][/quote]I think you'll find they broke the law when their visa expired! The Fish
  • Score: 12

11:51am Fri 28 Feb 14

Lanedor says...

Hopefully the Police and other officials collecting the cigarettes will find the time to clear some of the other litter as well!
Hopefully the Police and other officials collecting the cigarettes will find the time to clear some of the other litter as well! Lanedor
  • Score: 5

2:01pm Fri 28 Feb 14

notweymouth says...

smoke on the water...
smoke on the water... notweymouth
  • Score: 6

5:54pm Fri 28 Feb 14

toyota777 says...

How absolutely trivial of them , how pathetic is that grabbing some damp fags just because our tight-fisted arrogant govm'nt isn't getting the tax for them, Words fail me. It is true they can't be bothered to catch immigrants.
How absolutely trivial of them , how pathetic is that grabbing some damp fags just because our tight-fisted arrogant govm'nt isn't getting the tax for them, Words fail me. It is true they can't be bothered to catch immigrants. toyota777
  • Score: 4

7:39pm Fri 28 Feb 14

MaidofDorset says...

Technically there was no wreck as the containers washed overboard. The boat didn't sink or otherwise perish.

As there are many more containers floating about (some a few feet under the surface so a hazard to shipping) shouldn't the authorities be more concerned with the stuff still floating out there?

Left to the locals much of the storm debris etc. would quietly be tidied away at no public cost. Personally I'd be a bit worried about smoking something that had been in the same water that had killed so many birds, but I guess cigarettes have plenty of toxic substances in them already.
Technically there was no wreck as the containers washed overboard. The boat didn't sink or otherwise perish. As there are many more containers floating about (some a few feet under the surface so a hazard to shipping) shouldn't the authorities be more concerned with the stuff still floating out there? Left to the locals much of the storm debris etc. would quietly be tidied away at no public cost. Personally I'd be a bit worried about smoking something that had been in the same water that had killed so many birds, but I guess cigarettes have plenty of toxic substances in them already. MaidofDorset
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Desk24 says...

Wont it save money because of less work in making tins of smoked mackerel?
Wont it save money because of less work in making tins of smoked mackerel? Desk24
  • Score: -1

10:59pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Billy1mate says...

Top Tip, leave the border agency to earn their money litter picking.
Top Tip, leave the border agency to earn their money litter picking. Billy1mate
  • Score: 1

11:47pm Fri 28 Feb 14

EtaoinShrdlu says...

Funny how officialdom can swoop in such large numbers so quickly when they took 6 weeks to do anything about the flooding in Somerset, only venturing forth when some of the rich and famous along the Thames started getting wet.

But it all stems from the same public school old boy thought process: Who benefits from free fags? Poor people. Better whack them and keep them in their place. Who benefits from help when they are flooded? Poor people. Let them swim. Who benefits from obscene salaries and perks and holidays in the Maldives courtesy rich mates? We do. Well, that's ok then.
Funny how officialdom can swoop in such large numbers so quickly when they took 6 weeks to do anything about the flooding in Somerset, only venturing forth when some of the rich and famous along the Thames started getting wet. But it all stems from the same public school old boy thought process: Who benefits from free fags? Poor people. Better whack them and keep them in their place. Who benefits from help when they are flooded? Poor people. Let them swim. Who benefits from obscene salaries and perks and holidays in the Maldives courtesy rich mates? We do. Well, that's ok then. EtaoinShrdlu
  • Score: 3

11:56pm Fri 28 Feb 14

interestedlocal says...

I love it that they are letting the people work for hours picking them up & then taking them off them! Good thinking by the police.
I love it that they are letting the people work for hours picking them up & then taking them off them! Good thinking by the police. interestedlocal
  • Score: 1

8:09am Sat 1 Mar 14

GlassMan says...

Nice grammar Ben !!
Nice grammar Ben !! GlassMan
  • Score: -2

3:58pm Sat 1 Mar 14

skye2491 says...

Sorry officer have you got a light my fags a little damp pitty they didn't spend more time catching the harden criminals that are importing containers worth millions every day
Sorry officer have you got a light my fags a little damp pitty they didn't spend more time catching the harden criminals that are importing containers worth millions every day skye2491
  • Score: 0

11:53am Wed 5 Mar 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

Why? Can someone explain to me please?
Why? Can someone explain to me please? Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: -1

12:57pm Wed 5 Mar 14

dorsetj says...

You have to hand it to Customs & Excise, cunning plan, let other people do the work of picking everything up, then swooping in.
You have to hand it to Customs & Excise, cunning plan, let other people do the work of picking everything up, then swooping in. dorsetj
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Wed 5 Mar 14

cloton says...

I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!!
I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!! cloton
  • Score: -1

1:38pm Wed 5 Mar 14

nknights says...

cloton wrote:
I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!!
Cloton I couldn't agree with you more. It is not fair to let these people spend their day picking these up, they should be told as soon as they go near them that they are not allowed and that if they are to continue they will only be taken away from them.
[quote][p][bold]cloton[/bold] wrote: I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!![/p][/quote]Cloton I couldn't agree with you more. It is not fair to let these people spend their day picking these up, they should be told as soon as they go near them that they are not allowed and that if they are to continue they will only be taken away from them. nknights
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Wed 5 Mar 14

nknights says...

cloton wrote:
I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!!
Cloton I couldn't agree with you more. It is not fair to let these people spend their day picking these up, they should be told as soon as they go near them that they are not allowed and that if they are to continue they will only be taken away from them.
[quote][p][bold]cloton[/bold] wrote: I think this is ridiculous, they are spending the day hiding watching people spend hours picking up the cigarettes, I think you should approach these people to let them know they are not allowed to collect them or they will be confiscated and if they ignore this message then to wait and remove them from the person, but what a nasty thing to do, watching people collect the cigarettes then removing them all, is this seriously what they spend there time doing???? Well how productive!!!![/p][/quote]Cloton I couldn't agree with you more. It is not fair to let these people spend their day picking these up, they should be told as soon as they go near them that they are not allowed and that if they are to continue they will only be taken away from them. nknights
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Wed 5 Mar 14

ewoods says...

Yes it does seem ridiculous that they hide waiting, but it is also ridiculous that these people spend so long picking up what is in the end a worthless product. These cigarettes as stated in the post are not going to be any good, so what is the point!
Yes it does seem ridiculous that they hide waiting, but it is also ridiculous that these people spend so long picking up what is in the end a worthless product. These cigarettes as stated in the post are not going to be any good, so what is the point! ewoods
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Wed 5 Mar 14

cloton says...

I am sure these people, probably most of which smokers them selves, had opened a packet or two and checked that these cigarettes were worthy of using before spending hours collecting something that would be of no use to themselves? Or are you trying to suggest these people are simply brainless and are just being used to pick up the rubbish?
I am sure these people, probably most of which smokers them selves, had opened a packet or two and checked that these cigarettes were worthy of using before spending hours collecting something that would be of no use to themselves? Or are you trying to suggest these people are simply brainless and are just being used to pick up the rubbish? cloton
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Wed 5 Mar 14

dorsetj says...

However.....

If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax..
However..... If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax.. dorsetj
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Wed 5 Mar 14

ewoods says...

cloton wrote:
I am sure these people, probably most of which smokers them selves, had opened a packet or two and checked that these cigarettes were worthy of using before spending hours collecting something that would be of no use to themselves? Or are you trying to suggest these people are simply brainless and are just being used to pick up the rubbish?
I think dorsetj put this succinctly enough.
[quote][p][bold]cloton[/bold] wrote: I am sure these people, probably most of which smokers them selves, had opened a packet or two and checked that these cigarettes were worthy of using before spending hours collecting something that would be of no use to themselves? Or are you trying to suggest these people are simply brainless and are just being used to pick up the rubbish?[/p][/quote]I think dorsetj put this succinctly enough. ewoods
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Wed 5 Mar 14

dorsetj says...

reading back through, if, and I quote "they are not worth smoking" - why go to all the trouble of confiscating them. Let the people find out for themselves and the area still gets cleaned up.

Next time there's an oil spill, I'll be off to the coast with a jerry can to see if the customs people come after me :-)
reading back through, if, and I quote "they are not worth smoking" - why go to all the trouble of confiscating them. Let the people find out for themselves and the area still gets cleaned up. Next time there's an oil spill, I'll be off to the coast with a jerry can to see if the customs people come after me :-) dorsetj
  • Score: -1

5:32pm Wed 5 Mar 14

cloton says...

dorsetj wrote:
However.....

If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax..
And what makes you think that people who are unemployed would spend there time at the coast, i am sure these people are innocent dog walkers, elderly people all of which very good possibilities of smokers that probably came across this and then returned after work or like i say maybe elderly people.
It would be ridiculous to suggest that since the cigarettes washed up on shore it has been bombarded by unemployed benefit bandits.
[quote][p][bold]dorsetj[/bold] wrote: However..... If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax..[/p][/quote]And what makes you think that people who are unemployed would spend there time at the coast, i am sure these people are innocent dog walkers, elderly people all of which very good possibilities of smokers that probably came across this and then returned after work or like i say maybe elderly people. It would be ridiculous to suggest that since the cigarettes washed up on shore it has been bombarded by unemployed benefit bandits. cloton
  • Score: 2

5:40pm Wed 5 Mar 14

nknights says...

Shocking... that's all I can now say.
Shocking... that's all I can now say. nknights
  • Score: 2

5:42pm Wed 5 Mar 14

nknights says...

cloton wrote:
dorsetj wrote:
However.....

If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax..
And what makes you think that people who are unemployed would spend there time at the coast, i am sure these people are innocent dog walkers, elderly people all of which very good possibilities of smokers that probably came across this and then returned after work or like i say maybe elderly people.
It would be ridiculous to suggest that since the cigarettes washed up on shore it has been bombarded by unemployed benefit bandits.
Yes. Cloton agree with you on this one! This is not a situation where you can now stereotype certain people that are doing it. Im sure any smoker would have wanted to go down there, weather they are a tax payer/on benefits or not!
[quote][p][bold]cloton[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dorsetj[/bold] wrote: However..... If these people have enough time to wander up and down pillaging cigarettes, the chances are they are not working, therefore not paying tax..[/p][/quote]And what makes you think that people who are unemployed would spend there time at the coast, i am sure these people are innocent dog walkers, elderly people all of which very good possibilities of smokers that probably came across this and then returned after work or like i say maybe elderly people. It would be ridiculous to suggest that since the cigarettes washed up on shore it has been bombarded by unemployed benefit bandits.[/p][/quote]Yes. Cloton agree with you on this one! This is not a situation where you can now stereotype certain people that are doing it. Im sure any smoker would have wanted to go down there, weather they are a tax payer/on benefits or not! nknights
  • Score: 2

5:46pm Wed 5 Mar 14

cloton says...

shy talk wrote:
Honest Gov, just helping the environment doing a beach clean.
this is not the case completely, there are not helping the environment they are being malicious and watching smokers collect bags full then confiscating them where is the hard work or help in that?
Sitting by the rocks eating lunch having a chat for hours on end admiring the happy people collecting free cigarettes then as soon as they go to leave POUNSEEEEE thank you we will be having them.......
what a joke
[quote][p][bold]shy talk[/bold] wrote: Honest Gov, just helping the environment doing a beach clean.[/p][/quote]this is not the case completely, there are not helping the environment they are being malicious and watching smokers collect bags full then confiscating them where is the hard work or help in that? Sitting by the rocks eating lunch having a chat for hours on end admiring the happy people collecting free cigarettes then as soon as they go to leave POUNSEEEEE thank you we will be having them....... what a joke cloton
  • Score: 1

6:51pm Wed 5 Mar 14

nknights says...

Gordon Bennett wrote:
It is surprising the resources that are available when the govt might lose a few quid in customs revenue. Whole teams of officers on the beach this morning with their large plastic bags. Just a shame the same resources never seem to be available when it comes to burglary and vandalism.
couldn't agree more
[quote][p][bold]Gordon Bennett[/bold] wrote: It is surprising the resources that are available when the govt might lose a few quid in customs revenue. Whole teams of officers on the beach this morning with their large plastic bags. Just a shame the same resources never seem to be available when it comes to burglary and vandalism.[/p][/quote]couldn't agree more nknights
  • Score: 1

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