Stubbing out Gibraltar cigarette smuggling

LAST UPDATED: 27 Apr, 2011 @ 07:39
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Stubbing out Gibraltar cigarette smuggling

MOTORISTS crossing the frontier into Gibraltar are facing increasing delays due to an anti-smuggling crackdown.

The Guardia Civil campaign has targeted the movement of cigarettes, with many more vehicles and pedestrians being processed in recent weeks.

Authorities seized 28 vehicles and charged 83 people with smuggling offences in just one week recently.

Offences included conceament in false compartments of vehicles.

Police have also increased the number of roadside stop and search points in the Campo area, further reducing the flow of traffic.

17 COMMENTS

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  1. The Guardia Civil neo-fascists are using this as an excuse to prevent the free movement of people between EU territories. They stop and search vehicles without pulling them over from the Green, ‘Nothing to declare’ lane, thus causing untold misery for thousands of commuters and tourists. This is aimed mainly at deterring tourists from visiting Gibraltar and punishing the many thousands of Spaniards and other EU nationals who work here. What they also don’t realise is that thousands of Gibraltarians now avoid visiting Spain unless absolutely necessary, as if we’re not delayed by the queue into Spain we are trapped there by the other queue created by the Policia Nacional, who inexplicably check the passports of people leaving Spain, when they don’t bother checking those of people entering their country from Gibraltar. This queue is not policed due to La Linea’s bankrupt town council, which leads to a ‘free for all’ with Spanish cars driving aggressively to jump the queue, not to mention the junkies and other beggars.

  2. To be fair, Albert, Gibraltar is not part of the Schengen Area so passports are supposed to be checked in both directions, and I would have thought it was obvious that checking passports coming into Spain is more of a priority than checking those going out.

    In my experience, the queue INTO Gibraltar is often worse than the one going out, because of the runway crossing and the bottleneck caused by Winston Churchill Ave from the BP garage onwards. Traffic usually backs up from there. On Easter Thursday it too me nearly two hours to get in, but there was no queue at all going out.

    Sometimes it’s easy to blame everything on Spain. Gibraltar could do a lot more to sort out traffic problems on the Rock.

  3. The honourable and noble Guardia Civil would have an easier job cracking down this ruinous smuggling business if at least the police forces on the other side moved one finger to stop the massive selling of the merchandise. It’s no secret that the local authorities turn a blind eye on smuggling, and not just on tobacco.

  4. What did Spain expect when they copied other countries and started stuffing cigarette prices through the roof in an effort to reduce the deficit along with banning the habit in bars thereby putting even more Spaniards out of work leading to increased social payments. It would appear there is not a government in the world that knows how to run an economy, however they all know how to ruin it.

  5. Carlos,
    why don’t you tell us about how a few Spanish became fabulousy wealthy smuggling cigarettes across the mountains from France to Spain – and how the Guardia Civil took big backhanders to look the other way?

  6. guirizano – I would agree that the Policia Nacional would be expected to check passports INTO Spain. They don’t usually bother. They DO check passports of persons travelling INTO Gibraltar and this is what causes the big queues. The traffic problems are caused BY the queues into Spain. Gibraltar DOES NOT check outgoing persons or vehicles to the speed of the queue into Spain is down to the Spanish authorities. The queue into Gibraltar is deliberately slowed down by Policia Nacional checks on passports. Our Chief Minister has often said that if need be we would station more officers to speed up entry into Gibraltar, but that this would be futile if access is hampered by Spanish checks. In the long run the only way to ease congestion would be to restrict the number of vehicles entering Gibraltar, but this is politically sensitive and would of course lead to similar measures for vehicles crossing into Spain. It would also be helpful if Spain described the frontier as such and not as a ‘verja’ (gate). Many Spanish visitors arrive at the border with no passports / ID cards as they end up believing their own rhetoric, i.e. that Gibraltar is Spanish / the frontier is a ‘verja’ and are genuinely surprised when they encounter two sets of officials, red and green lanes, etc.

  7. The real reason not to pay the taxes on cigarettes purchased legally in Spain is the smoking ban. If the Spanish government wishes to persecute smokers, smokers should refuse to the greatest extent possible to help fund that persecution.

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