Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Swords seized by the UK customs

  1. #1

    Swords seized by the UK customs

    Hello. I have just had a package seized by the UK cusoms. I had bought three antique swords (one of which was curved) from a seller in Turkey. They sent me a letter saying it was against the law to import curved blades over 50cm (although there is only one in the package!). They said i need to contact them in writing informing them if i have any 'defences' as to why i should have them sent on to me. Can anyone advise me what i need to say? I cannot find what the exclusion are to this ban on the web. All help greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,226
    Hi Patrick,

    It sounds to me like you have something being held by customs, awaiting appropriate clearance. From what you are describing, maybe a phone call to them explaining the items as antiques will be all you will need to do. Perhaps they need something in writing from you or the seller explaining this. If you are looking for information on the web, you need to go read the information from an official source.

    My only first hand experience was an antique sabre shipped through Parcel Force and Global Priority from the UK to the USA. The package had paperwork attached simply describing an antique sabre. The package was never opened or detained.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; links to the amendments as well as contact information for the Home Office and HRH Customs have been posted in other threads
    Last edited by Glen C.; 07-20-2008 at 09:37 AM. Reason: typos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick R View Post
    I had bought three antique swords (one of which was curved) from a seller in Turkey.
    Hi Patrick,
    Sorry to hear you're having trouble. By "antique" can I assume they are 100 years old or older? This being the case they are exempt from the Offensive Weapons Order.
    Quote Originally Posted by Offensive Weapons Order
    Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (offensive weapons) shall apply to the following descriptions of weapons, other than weapons of those descriptions which are antiques for the purposes of this Schedule...
    ...For the purposes of this Schedule, a weapon is an antique if it was manufactured more than 100 years before the date of any offence alleged to have been committed in respect of that weapon under subsection (1) of the said section 141 or section 50(2) or (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979[2] (improper importation).
    How you or the vendor can prove they are antique is another thing. A letter or receipt from the vendor may be enough.

    Jez

  4. #4
    Hi. Thans for your replies. Yes they are over 100years old. I will write thema letter explaining things and update this post so hopefully we can all get a better idea of how this ban works in practice

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Glos. UK
    Posts
    84
    the govt. has changed the rules yet again, to recognise that counties other than japan (including england) have historically importants swords and sword makers still in existence, so the rules are in the process of changing or have changed to allow curved swords over 50 cm made before 1954 or hand made by 'traditional methods' in any country. it appears to be in effect.

    Link to amendment to the law

    this implies the law is now modified per that addendum, tho it is marked as a 'draft', so may not be valid yet.

    as in all things, check the references at the end of the law, and you may need to check with a solicitor, tho the 100yr. rule should work in all cases.

    ed: i have emailed the HO person ref. in the pdf, to ask when the draft will take effect and have also suggested they notify customs of the pending change and ask they have them hold off on seizures under the old unamended law while it is pending.

    probably will do no good, but, like the lottery, if you don't buy a ticket, you can't win. if you do you (like sending my email) at least have a slim chance.
    Last edited by W. Kroncke; 07-20-2008 at 12:27 PM.
    CAVE CANEM RADIX LECTI ET SEMPER PARATUS
    Dic, hospes Spartae nos te hic vidisse iacentes,
    Dum sanctis patriae legibus obsequimur

    If you think you're a person of some influence,
    try orderin' someone else's dog around.

  6. #6
    You will definitely need to write them a letter. Explain to them what features each sword may have that demonstrates their age (makers' names, royal cyphers, etc.) and also cite what sections of the legislation exempt antiques from the ban. The burden of proof is yours, I'm afraid.

    Good luck!

    Jonathan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cornwall, United Kingdom
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by W. Kroncke View Post
    this implies the law is now modified per that addendum, tho it is marked as a 'draft', so may not be valid yet.
    I believe the new amendment for "traditionally forged blades" comes into effect in August 2008.

    Jez

  8. #8
    Patrick

    You will need to provide information from published sources or from a recognised authority on Turkish swords - possibly someone from the Middle Eastern or Antique and Military sections of SFI about the age of the curved blade sword - if over 100 years old it is classed as an antique - one of the defined "defences" for importing this type of sword.

    You may also request restoration of the non curved bladed swords - they are detained as they are in the same package.

    They should have sent you paperwork covering Seizures - if not here is a link to the HMRC site

    http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...yType=document

    Good luck

    Richie

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Posts
    705
    Has it been formally seized,or are they just holding on to it until you confirm the swords are OK? "Seizure" is a legal term, with specific consequences.

    If it is a formal seizure you'll need to do a formal appeal against it, using the proper forms and within the time limit, which I think is 30 days from the notice of seizure. If you delay, they'll happily dispose of the goods and you're stuffed.

    Customs can be quite cavalier about this sort of thing: they get people trying it on all the time, so they'll stick to what they think the rules are.

    I'm a chartered tax advisor, by the way. Customs isn't an area I specialise in, but I do deal with HMRC all the time. I can't formally act for you without getting into all sorts of messy paperwork, but if you want any informal help do let me know.
    Never give a sword to a man who can't dance

  10. #10

    Update

    I contacted the customs explaining that I was a collector of Antique Weapons and that the items were over 100 years old. I also sent a scanned copy of the original invoice from the seller in Turkey.
    Within a week or so I had a letter back saying they were happy with my explanation and they were sent on to me!
    Hope this will prove useful to other buyers.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    25
    Hi Patrick,
    It is nice to see that it finally went right for you. Enjoy those 'new' swords.

    Martin
    "Fight for something you believe in and find it for yourself. If you do, pass it on to the future." --Solid Snake

  12. #12
    Patrick

    Good news

    Richie

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by W. Kroncke View Post
    the govt. has changed the rules yet again, to recognise that counties other than japan (including england) have historically importants swords and sword makers still in existence, so the rules are in the process of changing or have changed to allow curved swords over 50 cm made before 1954 or hand made by 'traditional methods' in any country. it appears to be in effect.

    Link to amendment to the law

    this implies the law is now modified per that addendum, tho it is marked as a 'draft', so may not be valid yet.

    as in all things, check the references at the end of the law, and you may need to check with a solicitor, tho the 100yr. rule should work in all cases.

    ed: i have emailed the HO person ref. in the pdf, to ask when the draft will take effect and have also suggested they notify customs of the pending change and ask they have them hold off on seizures under the old unamended law while it is pending.

    probably will do no good, but, like the lottery, if you don't buy a ticket, you can't win. if you do you (like sending my email) at least have a slim chance.

    Hopefully this amendment will take effect. It will at least allow custom makers to offer for sale some of their wares. The term "traditionlal methods" will need some clarifying tough. The Home Office will need to specificly state which methods will be acceptable to them.
    Alright! You and your bastages can gamble. But don't try no fargin' trick, otherwise you wind up with your bells in a sling!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Glos. UK
    Posts
    84
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Thornton View Post
    Hopefully this amendment will take effect. It will at least allow custom makers to offer for sale some of their wares. The term "traditionlal methods" will need some clarifying tough. The Home Office will need to specificly state which methods will be acceptable to them.
    i was told by the contact at the Home Office referenced in the draft that the amendment was going into effect on the 1st of august. here is a link showing it was approved and is now the law.

    as noted, the definitions need fleshing out a bit. laws are written by lawyers to be obscure in order to maintain their jobs translating them into english.
    Last edited by W. Kroncke; 08-22-2008 at 12:00 AM.
    CAVE CANEM RADIX LECTI ET SEMPER PARATUS
    Dic, hospes Spartae nos te hic vidisse iacentes,
    Dum sanctis patriae legibus obsequimur

    If you think you're a person of some influence,
    try orderin' someone else's dog around.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Massachusetts , Metro West
    Posts
    10,274

    Admin notice

    You may have noticed that a few posts were removed from this thread. This forum has strict rules and posts that add no value or additional information to the discussion are removed.

    For clarification refer to the rules of the forum thread

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33390

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •