§ MR. ALBAN GIBBS (London)
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the recent police case in Liver-pool, where the plaintiff in an action, Welsh v. Duckworth and others, was stated by the judge to have been for years stealing at the bonded warehouses; and whether he will give such directions to the Board of Customs as will ensure to merchants, whose goods are stored in such warehouses, an immunity from such tampering with their goods, as was shown to have taken place in the case mentioned.
(Answer.) In September last the attention of the local officers of Customs was drawn to certain suspicious circumstances in connection with the stock in the warehouse to which the allegations of ex-Police-Sergeant Walsh relate, and a thorough examination of the contents of the warehouse was thereupon made. In two instances excessive deficiencies were discovered, on which, by direction of the Board, the duty was required to be paid. The Board are informed that as a result of this examination certain employees of the warehouse-keeper were discharged on suspicion of having tampered with the goods; and since then the officers have no reason to believe that any irregularities have taken place. Under the standing regulations applicable to all bonded warehouses, the warehouse-keeper is alone responsible to the owner of any goods deposited in his warehouse for their safe custody and for their proper delivery. He is also answerable to the Crown for the duties on such goods. In circumstances such as those referred to in the Question the merchant should look to the warehouse-keeper for his remedy.—(Treasury.)