When entering the United Kingdom via an airport, you are allowed to carry only a small sum of cash with you. It’s in your best interest to carry small sums because a UK police officer or customs officer is permitted by law to seize a sum of money as little as over £1,000. There are also more instances that could lead to cash seizure. Therefore, this article provides a quick overview of what you must know about cash seizure at UK airports.

Cash Seizure at UK Airports

The customs officer or a police officer at a UK airport may seize an individual’s cash if they believe that the cash:

  • Has been used for illegal purposes
  • Can be used for illegal purposes

Therefore, you can have your money taken even if you have not committed a crime.

It’s not uncommon for law enforcement officers to take advantage of the ambiguity of this aspect of the law. Thus, it is in your interest to carry a sum lower than the £1,000 when you use the airports in the UK. It can be a challenging process to have your money returned quickly, even if you have reasonable reasons for possessing a sum of cash above £1,000. Therefore, you can avoid a long process and prevent yourself from losing your money temporarily or possibly permanently by reducing the amount of cash you carry.

Difference Between Cash Seized and Forfeited

It’s important to understand that cash seizure is not the same thing as cash forfeiture. Seizure simply means that the state has taken possession of your belonging (which in this case is cash). However, forfeiture is when the state claims ownership of the belonging seized. Forfeiture can occur through a court order or through the passage of time. So, if you want to have your cash returned to your possession, it is crucial that you seek the appropriate route to do so. You can also consult a solicitor to inform you about the deadlines and help guide you through the process.

Why You Should Contest Cash Forfeiture

When you suspect that your cash will be forfeited, you should contest the forfeiture while you have the opportunity to do so. Many cases of cash forfeiture are won by individuals when contested. This is typically because the police do not have sufficient evidence to prove that the cash seized was intended for illegal purposes.

Final Words

Cash seizure at UK airports can occur even when you have a reasonable reason for carrying a relatively large sum of money. That said, it can be best to simply avoid the hassle altogether. If you are dealing with such a case, hire solicitors to help you retrieve your money.

If you are struggling to pay legal fees to manage your case, you can also look at options such as legal aid or insurance policies. Getting the right funding is critical to making sure that you have the best defence possible to manage your case.