Harassed by customs claims Belleek man

A Belleek man has told how he was made ‘feel like a criminal’ after being stopped by a customs officer at a retail park in Sligo Town last week.

A Belleek man has told how he was made ‘feel like a criminal’ after being stopped by a customs officer at a retail park in Sligo Town last week.

James Rochford from Ballaghgee, Belleek claimed that a female customs officer approached his car in the car park at Carraroe Retail park on Wednesday, may 23rd, asking for identification, examined his tax disc and wanted to know who he was insured with.

He said that the whole experience was unnecessary and unnerving and that it would make him think twice before travelling to Sligo again, because of what he claimed was “military police type activity.”

Mr Rochford is a member of the Northen Ireland Fire Service and the FCA, but he alleges that the officer was only interested in his driving licence, although he also offered his Fire service credentials. He says that when the licence was taken from him, he was forced to wait ten minutes, before it was returned. He asked on a number of occasions, if he had done something wrong?

“I was left sitting with my mother -in-law feeling like a criminal and there were other people watching on,” he said.

In the end he was told that customs were looking for people living in the south, driving Northern Ireland registered vehicles.

“I know the Customs have a job to do and I applaud their diligence in catching those who break the law but this was certainly not the way to go about it.”