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Posts tagged with 'seized - the border and customs uncovered'

Drugs Rush at Seized!

11 February 2013 by Sam

school pupils watching performance of play

A scene from the play

Here’s an update from Joyce Parr and Sarah Han, education managers at Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered, about this year’s Rush programme:

“It has been lovely to welcome schools again to our drugs awareness event, Rush which takes place each January at Seized! UK Border Force National Museum, based in the Merseyside Maritime Museum. After it finished were exhausted, but we have had a brilliant time, like the kids!

Despite the snow, we welcomed more than 700 young people. The award winning Rush programme (Kids Count Award in 2010) was developed because of concerns about the impact of drugs misuse on young people. We are lucky to work with the UK Border Force who give the museum lots of helpful back up. Read more…


5 November 2012 by Alayna

Twin masted sailing ship in bay

On a recent trip to Falmouth we visited the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, interviewed Cornwall’s last remaining Customs Officer and chatted to the creator of a newly built 18th-century style lugger!

On our last day we got up early and travelled along the sunny south-east coast of Cornwall to Millbrook boatyard in Plymouth. Here we met professional sailors Marcus Rowden and Freya Hart, with their little toddler Malachi – the inspirational team behind the Grayhound.

The original Greyhound was an 18th-century Customs cutter commissioned by John Knill, collector of Customs and mayor of St Ives. Having discovered the plans for the original vessel, Marcus and Freya decided to build their own version from scratch. This would not only be an important part of Cornish maritime history, but ultimately their future place of work and family home. Read more…

Seized drug suit on display

30 October 2012 by Alayna

two curators holding up a body wrap and trousers with pockets for hiding drugs

Holding up the bodysuit with curator Steve Butler before it went on display

Last week we displayed a bodysuit used in a plot to smuggle £5m worth of cocaine into Europe. This fascinating new object was acquired by the museum from the UK Border Force after it was seized on board the ‘MSC Orchestra’ cruise liner in 2010.

A gang of eight Bulgarian and Lithuanian drug smugglers joined the cruise in Brazil destined for Amsterdam. When the ship berthed at Dover on 6th May 2010, UK Border Force officers with a sniffer dog entered the ship to search their cabins. Stashed inside suitcases were eight cocaine filled bodysuits intended to be worn under clothing. In total, officers recovered 35 kilos of cocaine valued at nearly £5m. The eight smugglers were sentenced to a total of 87 years imprisonment. Read more…

Our helping hand at Seized!

6 July 2012 by Lucy Johnson

Schoool children touching a stool made from an elephant's foot

Ben Forshaw tells us more about what he’s been up to during his work placement:

On my fourth day at NML, along with Jacob from the same school as myself, we learnt about illegal importing at the Seized! gallery. We also helped set up a presentation about the smuggling of endangered animals for school children.

Before the school arrived, Sarah Han from the education team gave us a tour of the gallery. I was very surprised to learn that people managed to import substances such as cannabis, by swallowing bags of the drug and excreting them, and that unlikely objects such as garden gnomes and cricket bats have been used to bring prohibited materials into the country. We learnt about the smuggling of items by fake brands eg, Polystation rather than Playstation. Despite it being evident that a Polystation is fake (some items appeared more genuine than others), people still bought them, not knowing the danger they posed. I was horrified to learn that a young child bought a fake Nintendo DS and, as a consequence of how it was made, died through being electrocuted. And while items like fake football kits cannot cause harm, the clear lack of authenticity in most cases suggest that child labour was used to create the clothing. This is why the Customs Officers are so important, as they, for our benefit, try to ensure that the importing of prohibited goods is prevented. Read more…

Einstein’s immigration papers to go on display

5 May 2011 by Sam

Lucy Gardner, assistant curator at the UK Border Agency National Museum, has news of a how a simple document – which is going on display next week – marks a key moment in Einstein’s history.

photo of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein during his stay in Oxford in 1933. © Senior Common Room, Christ Church, Oxford

“The Seized! the Border and Customs uncovered gallery has been collecting items which tell the story of immigration into the UK throughout history. Many people have come to Britain over the years, including some who were made to flee their native countries in fear for their lives.

A landing card that will go on show for the very first time next week is proof that one of the most famous names in history came to Britain seeking safe haven in 1933. Albert Einstein was forced to leave Germany when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party gained power and began its brutal persecution of minority groups, including Jewish people. Einstein was already world famous for his discoveries in physics but the Nazi regime said he was an enemy of the state and made him an assassination target! Read more…

Just a quick note

28 January 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Jamaican bank note

Jamaican 10 shilling note from the consignment shipped on board the Politician. (DX/2515)

The Maritime Archives & Library has a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions in the 3 showcases outside our door on the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.  Our current exhibition, in conjunction with our colleagues from the UK Border Agency National Museum, is on the Harrison Line vessel Politician, which ran aground off the island of Eriskay, Scotland.  The fact that the vessel was carrying a lot of whisky is well known, highlighted by the novel and film Whisky Galore, but there was a lot of other interesting cargo onboard, not least 290,000 Jamaican bank notes.  The recent publicity for the opening of the exhibition caught the eye of a man interested in the story of the ship.  He has kindly donated one of the very bank notes to us and we’ve added it to the exhibition. Read more…

Sniffer dogs return to the museum

6 August 2010 by Sam

woman in uniform with a dog

A sniffer dog and handler at the museum

The sniffer dogs from UK Border Agency are once again demonstrating their unique sniffing skills at Seized! over the summer holidays. If you’d like to see them they will be at the museum every Thursday afternoon during August – full details are on the website in the Seized! events programme.
I know that the sniffer dogs are extremely well trained but I hadn’t realised before that each one specialises in searching for specific things. Karen Bradbury, curator of the UK Border Agency National Museum explains: Read more…

Hunter’s trophy highlights the plight of elephants

20 July 2010 by Sam

We’ve already featured a rather famous whisky bottle on the blog, which is one of the new objects that came into the collection of the UK Border Agency National Museum following the closure of Greenock Customs House. If you come to one of the summer events at the Seized! gallery – which displays the UK Border Agency National Museum’s collections – then you could see another new acquisition from Greenock Customs House up close. Joyce Parr, education manager at Seized, explains:
Read more…

Calling all smugglebusters

8 July 2010 by Alison Cornmell

The last time I spent any time with five year olds was when I was five myself. From what I remember it’s pretty tough – warm milk at break time,  bossy kids beating you to it to get to the wet sand and watercress that wont grow out of the Flora tub. I can only assume it’s the same for the five year olds of today too.

However it was lovely to see a school group of five year olds getting a much needed break from the stresses of everyday life at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Whisky galore

6 July 2010 by Sam

old bottle covered in barnacles

Following the closure of Greenock Customs House the UK Border Agency National Museum (Seized!) recently collected an unusual array of objects. One of the highlights is this whisky bottle believed to be off the SS Politician – the cargo ship that was immortalised in the classic Ealing comedy ‘Whisky Galore’ in 1949.

Laden with goods, including 50,000 cases of scotch, the Politician left Liverpool in 1941 bound for the American market. However, during a heavy storm the captain was unable to keep the ship on course, and she ran aground on a sandbank off the Isle of Eriskay, in the Scottish Western Isles.
Once the local residents heard from the crew about the contents of the ship, they set about salvaging the whisky. However the local Customs officer regarded this as theft, and illegal. A series of police raids set about finding the looted goods.
The bottle acquired for the national collection still has barnacles attached, suggesting that it has spent some time in the sea. It will now form part of our reserve collection off display. Read more…

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