Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Customs search with dogs or just me?

AlisonF

AlisonF

Top Poster
VIP Member
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,963
Location
Aberdeen
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Having travelled to the Netherlands (Newcastle - IJmuiden) several times. This time was notably different. I was asked to allow my van to be checked (it was not searched, but that was the implication) four times. Both on departure and arrival in both directions.
I do not believe this was anything to do with bot being in the EU as other vans before and after were not examined.
It seemed there was a suspicion about a single female travelling. Each time, after I had opened all the doors (and thankfully the dogs had not gone apeshit about a tall person in high vis sticking his nose in their crates) as soon as I mentioned we were going / coming from seeing my best mate in Midlaren and it was a holiday… they were no longer interested in a search…
I was just curious that my vehicle was flagged for inspection all 4 times whilst I watched others with family being waved through…
And they showed no interest in the Animal Health Certificates either… just a wee check everything was in order and scan the microchip (on departure each way, only the docs required on arrival both ways).
 
sidepod

sidepod

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
4,772
Vehicle
T4 PopTop
We were searched last time through. I think they believe a camper van is an ideal vehicle for smuggling illegals.
I wouldn’t mind if they actually carried out a proper thorough search instead of a half hearted:
/can’t be arsed attempt.

I was asked to open the rear. When I explained it would take me 10mins to unload bikes/racks etc they said, oh don’t bother then. FFS, why stop me if you can’t be arsed.
 
AlisonF

AlisonF

Top Poster
VIP Member
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,963
Location
Aberdeen
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
We were searched last time through. I think they believe a camper van is an ideal vehicle for smuggling illegals.
I wouldn’t mind if they actually carried out a proper thorough search instead of a half hearted:
/can’t be arsed attempt.

I was asked to open the rear. When I explained it would take me 10mins to unload bikes/racks etc they said, oh don’t bother then. FFS, why stop me if you can’t be arsed.
I was in the queue for high sided vehicles, so before and after campers, which were not searched. I definitely had the feeling there was suspicion about a single driver. I had to explain it every time…
Let’s see what happens next time I go…
 
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
8,882
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I was in the queue for high sided vehicles, so before and after campers, which were not searched. I definitely had the feeling there was suspicion about a single driver. I had to explain it every time…
Let’s see what happens next time I go…

I’ve been searched as a single driver, as a couple and as a family.

Perhaps your regular trips are triggering a bell, or maybe the four in a row is a random fluke.

I’ve also experienced the “please open your boot” then a “don’t bother” when I explained it would involve unloading the bikes. But on one occasion the did at least shine a torch down a gap in the bench seat to see what was there instead.

Most bizarrely they once stopped me to search my engine battery compartment, and were most interested in the hookup leads I had stowed there. They didn’t think to have a look at my leisure battery with all its mysterious connections (solar, fridge and external 12v).
 
AlisonF

AlisonF

Top Poster
VIP Member
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,963
Location
Aberdeen
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
I’ve been searched as a single driver, as a couple and as a family.

Perhaps your regular trips are triggering a bell, or maybe the four in a row is a random fluke.

I’ve also experienced the “please open your boot” then a “don’t bother” when I explained it would involve unloading the bikes. But on one occasion the did at least shine a torch down a gap in the bench seat to see what was there instead.

Most bizarrely they once stopped me to search my engine battery compartment, and were most interested in the hookup leads I had stowed there. They didn’t think to have a look at my leisure battery with all its mysterious connections (solar, fridge and external 12v).
Maybe I was not clear. I have not traveled for 5 years. Before my back surgery and then Brexit, I was travelling twice a year.
This was one trip. (In and out both ways makes 4 chances to inspect - and I was surprised to be asked on all 4).
 
4x4 joker

4x4 joker

VW T6.1 Westfalia Club Joker 4motion
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,943
Location
Southampton/Perthshire
Vehicle
N/A
I got stopped between Andorra and Spain and they thought I was a cigarette smuggler.
Opened the sliding door and the woman jumped out of her skin when Zeb appeared.
I guess cali are so expensive now that they think we need to turn to illegal stuff to fund them.
It’s just annoying dumb luck, and plus side makes a good story to tell.
 
J

Jim2007

Messages
143
Location
England
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 199 4 motion
Having travelled to the Netherlands (Newcastle - IJmuiden) several times. This time was notably different. I was asked to allow my van to be checked (it was not searched, but that was the implication) four times. Both on departure and arrival in both directions.
I do not believe this was anything to do with bot being in the EU as other vans before and after were not examined.
It seemed there was a suspicion about a single female travelling. Each time, after I had opened all the doors (and thankfully the dogs had not gone apeshit about a tall person in high vis sticking his nose in their crates) as soon as I mentioned we were going / coming from seeing my best mate in Midlaren and it was a holiday… they were no longer interested in a search…
I was just curious that my vehicle was flagged for inspection all 4 times whilst I watched others with family being waved through…
And they showed no interest in the Animal Health Certificates either… just a wee check everything was in order and scan the microchip (on departure each way, only the docs required on arrival both ways).
Could it have been port security rather than Customs? Unlikely to have been Customs at Newcastle?

We've been dragged in to the shed at Hull more than once for an inspection, but they are port staff going through the motions rather than Customs.

The favourite part of it for me is always: "have you got any knives or other sharp objects on board?"

"Yes, a drawer full."

"Erm, oh. Have a good trip."

I honestly think the port security people are simply filling a quota. Human beings are involved, and when given a target a human's basic instinct is to reach it by the easiest route. Therefore, single female in expensive van with dogs is quite likely to be a) quick and easy, and b) a tick in the book without additional work or paperwork. Perhaps you just got unlucky with people wanting to make sure they finished on time those nights.

As @Amarillo said above, the one time we have actually been stopped by Customs (on the very night of Brexit at Hoek van Holland) explaining how long it'd take to get the boot open with bikes on the back was enough to reduce suspicions immediately. There always seems to be more officialdom at Hoek than Europoort. Perhaps Europoort is a long drive from their base? Human beings again.

We average about 4 or 5 returns to the Netherlands a year. Perhaps 50 crossings, maybe three times port security at Hull, one Customs at Hoek. My money's on random chance and nothing about you or your van.
 
AlisonF

AlisonF

Top Poster
VIP Member
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,963
Location
Aberdeen
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Could it have been port security rather than Customs? Unlikely to have been Customs at Newcastle?

We've been dragged in to the shed at Hull more than once for an inspection, but they are port staff going through the motions rather than Customs.

The favourite part of it for me is always: "have you got any knives or other sharp objects on board?"

"Yes, a drawer full."

"Erm, oh. Have a good trip."

I honestly think the port security people are simply filling a quota. Human beings are involved, and when given a target a human's basic instinct is to reach it by the easiest route. Therefore, single female in expensive van with dogs is quite likely to be a) quick and easy, and b) a tick in the book without additional work or paperwork. Perhaps you just got unlucky with people wanting to make sure they finished on time those nights.

As @Amarillo said above, the one time we have actually been stopped by Customs (on the very night of Brexit at Hoek van Holland) explaining how long it'd take to get the boot open with bikes on the back was enough to reduce suspicions immediately. There always seems to be more officialdom at Hoek than Europoort. Perhaps Europoort is a long drive from their base? Human beings again.

We average about 4 or 5 returns to the Netherlands a year. Perhaps 50 crossings, maybe three times port security at Hull, one Customs at Hoek. My money's on random chance and nothing about you or your van.
Was definitely customs at IJmuiden. I thought at Newcastle too, but could have been port staff. Although I’m pretty sure the building says ‘customs’ on it…
Was not due to people finishing shift / quota’s as there were still hundreds of cars to come through (all 4 times) behind me.
I’ll see what happens on the next trip…
 

Similar threads

Top