Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered
Border Force National Museum
Enter the world of the Customs officer - a dark and unseen world of smuggling, intrigue and danger, where things are not always what they seem.
One of the Seized! gallery's key themes is anti smuggling. This includes detective work, crime fighting, patrolling frontiers and investigation. In uncovering this story you will reveal some of the clever tactics of the criminal, and discover some of the methods to catch them.
A second theme explores the importance of raising taxes, how the are collected, and how we have reacted to them.
We tell a contemporary story, balanced with a view of the past. We explore issues of fairness and safety in society, affecting all of us today.
Explore our collections and gallery
Our galleries reveal some of the unique seizures used for criminal activity. Discover how wooden carvings were used to conceal 21kg of cocaine. Or explore how the trade in endangered birds crosses Europe to conclude in a small farm in North Yorkshire. Our objects also tell stories of how officers did their job. Below see some of our gallery highlights, as well as some of the collections which are not currently on display.
In our case studies from the gallery read about some of the extreme measures taken to control smuggling, such as the burning of the fishing fleet near Dover in the 18th century. Or you may remember the protests against fuel duty, when the price of petrol was felt to be a burden by many.
Things to do
Join in our events and family activities.
Download our gallery trail for younger visitors - and see if you can find him when you visit!
Schools and groups can book special themed sessions.
The museum can be found in the basement of Merseyside Maritime Museum. We are a unique partnership between National Museums Liverpool, the UK Border Force and HM Revenue and Customs.
UK Border Force and HM Revenue and Customs aim to help ensure that our way of life is fair, safe, civilised and protected. Find out more in the Seized! gallery at the museum or on this website.
What makes Seized! The Border & Customs Uncovered?
Suggested sources of information for researchers.
Linked to the work of UK Border Force or HM Revenue and Customs.