The UK Border Agency (UKBA) have confirmed an illicit Sologne type handlebar bag was spotted recently at Charing Cross railway station. The UKBA believe the bag is affixed via décaleur de sacoche to what appears to be a prohibited cyclo-touriste or randonneuse type bicycle. The method by which the goods were smuggled into the country is unknown and the suspect is at large.
“There are certain bicycles that you are not allowed to bring into the UK – in person or by post – under any circumstances, and some bicycles and parts that are restricted. This is to protect the UK from crime, diseases and indecency”, said a person of authority speaking anonymously.
“It is illegal to carry or send bicycles to the UK that are banned or for which you don’t have the necessary licence or permit. There are severe penalties for smuggling, including imprisonment”.
The main power of UKBA is to detain anyone who has committed, or who the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect has committed, any offence under the Customs and Excise Acts.
Concerning the incident at Charing Cross, Quarterly Bicycle were asked to provide expert witness appraisal of videographic evidence captured by CCTV.
Image #1 shows a suspect trying to conceal a handlebar bag. Image #2 shows a clear view of an illicit Sologne type bag. In the expert opinion of Quarterly Bicycle the bag in question is a Berthoud model GB2286 and is probably attached using a Velo-Orange décaleur. We the experts here at lovely Quarterly Bicycle believe the bicycle is not a true randonneuse, but rather a Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) with mid-trail front end geometry. The LHT is considered a “gateway bicycle” to the harder stuff.
Meanwhile, recent evidence has emerged highlighting a serious problem of contraband bicycle trade on the black market. Quarterly Bicycle investigative reporters found a prohibited bicycle posted online in a popular public exchange:
The UKBA have requested aid of police community support officers to combat the problem.
Growing crisis threatens Entente Cordiale
Authorities are facing criticism over the growing crisis. Downing Street replied: “We have put in place a credible plan for dealing with the crisis and the credibility of that plan can be seen in what has happened to bond yields in this country.”
Some observers believe the crisis could put the Entente Cordiale in jeopardy. There are concerns the crisis could escalate in July when hordes of foreign cyclists are expected to arrive in the UK for the 2013 edition of London-Edinburgh-London.
As a service to our readers, lovely Quarterly Bicycle have printed the relevant regulations concerning Prohibited and Controlled Bicycle Goods:
Every ranndonneuse bicycle, cyclo-touriste bicycle or identifiable component of a randonneuse whose importation into the UK is absolutely prohibited by a notice issued under section 22(1A) of the Misuse of Low-Trail Bicycles Act 1955. Goods that are designed, manufactured, or adapted with intent to facilitate the commission of a crime involving so called low-trail front end geometry (as defined in section 2(1) of the Crimes Act 1961).
Goods that, having regard to all relevant circumstances, it would be reasonable to believe—
(i) were constructed during the so called “Golden Age” of hand built bicycles;
(ii) use 584 mm bead seat diameter tyres;
(iii) use 35 mm x 1 mm bottom bracket with right thread fixed cup;
(iv) were designed to carry a load at the handlebars;
(v) use 14 mm x 1.25 mm pedal thread.
Penalty for fraudulent evasion of duty, etc.
(1)Without prejudice to any other provision of the Customs and Excise Acts 1979, if any person—
(a)knowingly acquires possession of any of the goods, that is to say—
(i)goods which have been unlawfully obtained;
(ii)goods which are chargeable with a duty which has not been paid;
(iii)goods with respect to the importation or exportation of which any prohibition or restriction is for the time being in force under or by virtue of any enactment;
Persons found guilty of said crimes shall be fined not less than 20 pence and up to £3 million and or imprisoned up to 10 years.
How to report suspicious activity
You can call Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Hotline to report suspicious activity in relation to smuggling.