HC Deb 20 November 1958 vol 595 cc1298-9
9. Mr. Hyde

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions he has given to Her Majesty's Customs officers to remove and assess for duty the wristwatches worn by schoolchildren temporily visiting this country for purposes of their education.

Mr. Erroll

None, Sir. Customs officers do not remove watches from the wrists of school-children or other travellers. But recently acquired watches, imported by people arriving for other than a brief stay, can be released by the Customs only on payment of the duty which is legally chargeable, or on security for re-exportation.

Mr. Hyde

Is my hon. Friend aware that the recent case of two schoolboys from Jamaica who had their wrist-watches removed and retained by the Customs because they could not pay the duty has created an unfavourable impression, particularly in the West Indies? Will he, in future, try to bring to bear a little humanity as well as common sense in dealing with these cases?

Mr. Erroll

The Customs officers are well known for their courtesy and humanity, as many travellers will testify. The misunderstanding in this case arose because it appeared that these two boys were coming in for a period of years, and it was not made plain that they were proposing to return for their school holidays.