Thousands seized from passengers at Scottish airports


ALMOST 300,000 in cash was seized from passengers at Scottish airports last year.

The money was taken from passengers by UK Border Control officers who became suspicious about the large amounts and different currencies.

The highest amount was seized in April 2010 with

“199,500 and $10,000 taken for investigation.

The figures released in a freedom of information request also highlighted a passenger who was carrying large amounts of money in three different currencies.

The incident in March 2010 saw 4,920,

“220 and $1,939 taken.

The UK Border Agency said that they could not release the names of the airports that the money was seized from because of security reasons.

But added that money is taken if the officer

“has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the cash detected is recoverable property or intended for use in unlawful conduct.”

All cash seizures at the border are referred to the UKBA Criminal & Financial Investigation team (CFI) who will

“determine whether there is sufficient evidence to adopt the case for further investigation.”

In two of the cash seizures last year the money was returned to the passenger but if kept it is given to community projects by the Scottish Government.

So far, more than 41m has been invested in a range of free activities for young people.

In a more recent case in April this year a Chinese student had more than 100,000 confiscated from her at Edinburgh Airport.

Weimei Zhong, 22, a student at Heriot Watt University was found with “very large sums” of euros and US dollars, including 500 euro notes, which are known to be used by so-called “cash-mules”.

Ms Zhong was then unable to offer a “reasonable” explanation for the money.

Large quantities of cigarettes and alcohol were also seized at the borders in 2010.

Almost 5 million cigarettes were seized, 2,000 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, 179 litres of alcohol spirits and six litres of wine.

The figures are released as a new campaign to stop air passengers bringing knives and offensive weapons into Scotland in their luggage.

The crackdown by police and border officials follows a rise in attempts by holidaymakers to smuggle in tasers, daggers, death stars and knuckle-dusters – which are all banned for sale in the UK.

Murdo MacMillan, assistant director for the UK Border Agency in Scotland, said:

“Just because you can legally buy an item while on holiday abroad does not mean you can legally bring it into Scotland.

“We are determined to prevent lethal weapons reaching our streets and ignorance of the law is no defence. “