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17/08/2007

HM Revenue & Customs Offers Advice At Belfast Mela 2007

Belfast Mela 2007, a traditional Indian summer international festival celebrating the changing multi-cultural communities of Northern Ireland, takes place later this month in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have said they are pleased to be able to support this festival, which brings the rich diversity of these cultures together, giving the people of Northern Ireland the opportunity to meet and share views on food, music, dance, culture, art and fashion.

HMRC will be raising awareness amongst the festival visitors of the work they do that benefits all communities by letting them know what they are allowed to bring back from trips abroad as well as advice on the limits for tobacco, wines and spirits.

HMRC Head of Detection in Northern Ireland, Maggie Eyden said: “The Mela is an international culture event, giving the people of Northern Ireland a sample of the global richness of our local communities. Whether on a short trip to visit family abroad or a luxury cruise in exotic seas, travellers need to know what they can and can’t bring into the UK. This is an ideal opportunity for people to chat to HMRC officers about the limits and restrictions that exist to protect them, other people, endangered wildlife and UK businesses.

"We want to ensure travellers do not waste their money on souvenirs that may be taken off them when they get back home, so think before you buy.”

Exhibits include contraband goods such as coral, ivory and animal skins, a selection of counterfeit goods plus souvenirs made from endangered animals that are protected, including, snakeskins, ivory jewellery and ornaments and a bear’s head.

Maggie Eyden added: “At the Mela, we will be talking to visitors and explaining how and why we operate. As more and more people travel abroad, returning with gifts and souvenirs - to help you hold onto your purchases the rule is simple - know the limits before you travel and before you spend your cash”.

The Mela takes place at Botanic Gardens Belfast on Sunday 26 August 2007.

(SB/SP)

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