Condemnation of a luxury car

Paul acted for the Border Force in a matter where an individual had his Porsche Cayenne seized under sections 88 and 139 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 as having been ‘adapted’ by the construction of two concealed voids in the sills of the vehicle.

The vehicle had been purchased second hand by the individual for €40,000 two years previously and he claimed to have no knowledge of the concealments and, applying Customs & Excise v Newbury [2003] EWHC 702 (Admin), that condemnation of the car was disproportionate and it should be returned to him.

The Court found that the presence of the concealments coupled with some issues with the individual’s account of his circumstances justified the condemnation (seizure and forfeiture) of the vehicle. In addition to losing the vehicle the individual had to pay Border Force’s costs of £3,000.