London, 12 January/GNN/ —

HM REVENUE AND CUSTOMS News Release (NW 01/06) issued by the Government News
Network on 12 January 2006
The Holiday and Travel Show at GMEX in Manchester, which opens on Friday,
will feature seizures of protected animal products, such as skins, in the
hope of educating north west travellers about what they can and can’t bring
back from trips abroad.

The animal products which have been used to make clothes, handbags and
household ornaments were seized from travellers around the UK and will be on
display on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) exhibition stand. The three-day
event begins this Friday (13 January) and HMRC officers will be on-hand
throughout the show to advise visitors on all aspects of the department’s work.

HM Revenue & Customs manager, Dave Gostelow said:

“Whether it’s a short shopping trip to France or a luxury cruise in exotic
seas, holidaymakers need to know what they can and can’t bring into the
UK. It’s an ideal opportunity for people to chat to us about customs limits
and restrictions that exist to protect them, other people, endangered wildlife
and UK businesses. We want to ensure that holidaymakers do not waste their
money on souvenirs that may be taken off them when they get back home,
so think before you buy.

“There is a lot of interest in animal products specifically at the moment in
light of campaigns by animal charities and the issues related to bird flu -
by visiting our stand or visiting our website you can check what HMRC are
doing to help protect the illegal trade in protected species and how we
protect the UK from possible contaminated goods.

“Everyone knows about the guide levels for bringing alcohol and tobacco back
from the EU and further abroad. But travellers might not realise that their
seemingly innocent souvenir may be banned in the UK or that shopping may be
subject to UK duty and tax.

“Over the coming weekend, we will be talking to visitors and explaining how and
why we operate. If you want to hold onto your purchases the rule is simple -
know the limits before you travel and before you spend that holiday cash.

“We want holidaymakers to have a safe and pleasant trip and hope that by
highlighting these restrictions now, people will not face a disappointing
end to a great holiday.”

By following a few simple guidelines, travellers can enjoy a carefree holiday:

* Do be aware of the guidelines for EU travellers or the duty free limits
for Non-EU travellers.
* Do think before you buy – when choosing gifts and souvenirs.
* Don’t leave your bags unattended or carry anything for anyone else. If
you do, you could end up carrying the can for a drug trafficker.
* If in doubt call the HMRC National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000 (Monday
to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm) before you travel or download copies of our
all holiday guides from our website

Details of exhibits

Exhibits include contraband goods such as coral, ivory and animal skins,
examples of drug concealments, a selection of counterfeit goods plus souvenirs
made from endangered animals which are protected, including a turtle shell,
snake skins, ivory jewellery and ornaments and a whole West African crocodile
skin (a particularly endangered rare species). These seizures are examples
of the wholesale souvenir trade in animal skins and demonstrate the impact
that your holiday can have on wildlife abroad.

A guide to what can and can’t be brought back from trips abroad will also
be available.

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