reunite New Zearland family with long lost war medals
Photographs thanks to
POLICE in Southport have
reunited war medals belonging to a local soldier with his surviving
family 12,000 miles away in New Zealand! Evidence review officer
Dave Cooke turned detective to track down the relatives of former
Marshside resident William Wood after finding them during an audit
of recovered property at Southport Police Station. The medals, which
include a France and Germany Star, had been taken for safe keeping
by officers attending Mr Wood's home in Coyford Drive when he passed
away in non-suspicious circumstances, on 22 September 2004. But his
family did not even know the medals and other wartime treasures
existed, so when they came over from New Zealand to clear Mr Wood's
home they returned to Wellington without them. Now Dave's family is
set to reunite the medals as well as photographs, letters and
jewellery with the family just in time for Christmas having turned
sleuth and tracked them down with the help of Police Officers in
Dave, who got his first lead after
seeing a New Zealand address on the back of a blank cheque found
amongst Mr Wood's property, said:- "I thought it would be a
long shot, but I took the chance that someone might know his next of
kin, so emailed the local Police Station in Mount Victoria with my
tentative enquiry, never expecting I'd get anything back. To my
amazement I got a reply the next day from a Fraser Simpson, a
property clerk who turned out to know William Wood Jnr as a personal
friend! We were put in touch with each other and I had the pleasure
of telling him what we had found and how we'd like to get it all
back to him. The weekend before I had visited the poppies at the
Tower of London with my son and had explained that each one
represented the life of someone who had died in one of the wars. We
had both been incredibly moved by the bravery of the soldiers and
the tragic waste of life that wars bring so I knew how important
these medals would be to someone out there. Now my priority is to
make sure they go in the post in time to get to New Zealand for
Christmas. Sometimes you get a positive result if you put that
little bit of extra effort in but the coincidences have certainly
combined to help too!"
In another strange twist, Mr Wood
used to live at the current home of address of Dave's Mum, in
Southport. William Junior couldn't believe it when Dave told him
about it after they starting emailing each other. He said:-
"My first reaction was 'Wow!', then the more I read Dave's email
several times the stranger it became. Dave's email to Wellington
Police went pretty much straight to a friend of mine who obviously
clicked that it was probably me he was after. Then to find that
Dave's mother was living at Fylde Road where my parents lived some
years ago was uncanny! My brother and I just kept on wondering what
other coincidences would turn up! We are very grateful indeed to
Dave and his colleagues at Merseyside Police for taking the trouble
to find me and it proves that sometimes playing a long shot pays
off. I already have my grandfather's World War One medals and always
intended to mount them in a frame. Now, thanks to Dave, I can do
that and mark our family's total contribution and sacrifice in both
Dave meanwhile is looking forward
to playing Santa and posting the treasures via recorded delivery to
ensure they cover the 12,000 mile journey in ample time for
Christmas. David said:- "I'll definitely keep in touch with
Will and hope to be able to see a photo of the framed medals of his
dad, uncle and grandfather, all together on his wall in New Zealand.
It will be a satisfying end to a really rewarding little
Online Shopping Goods Tax Warning
CHRISTMAS shoppers looking
for bargains overseas have been warned by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
not to get hit by unexpected charges.
Shoppers buying goods online from
non-European Union (EU) countries, or travellers going abroad to do
Christmas shopping, are advised to check how much they can buy
before customs duty or import VAT are due.
HMRC's Head of Customs Policy,
Angela Shephard, said:- "We know many people like to go abroad
at this time to buy their Christmas gifts, or buy online from non-EU
countries, and think that the 'cheaper' price they see is always the
price they finally pay. We want to remind everyone how much they can
actually bring back from abroad or buy from an online overseas
seller without having to pay customs duty or import VAT. Shoppers
must always be cautious with websites that say they will undervalue
your goods so you won't pay VAT or offer famous 'brand' names at
very low prices. HMRC knows about these sites and people who think
they've found a bargain may actually end up paying more or having
1. If you buy goods over the internet or by mail order from outside
the EU, you will have to pay VAT if the value of the package is over
£15. In this case, VAT will be calculated on the full item value,
not just the value above the allowance.
2. Since 1 April 2012, all mail order imports from the Channel
Islands are subject to VAT, regardless of their value.
3. If someone sends you a gift from outside the EU, import VAT will
only be due if the package is valued at over £36. To qualify as a
gift, the item must be sent from one private individual to another,
with no money changing hands. If the value exceeds £36, VAT will be
calculated on the full item value, not just the value above the
4. If the goods are over £135 in value, customs duty may also be
due, although this will depend on what they are and where they have
been sent from. Where the actual amount of duty due is less than £9,
this will not be charged.
5. Excise duty is always due on all alcohol and tobacco products
purchased online or by mail order.
6. Arriving in the UK by commercial sea or air transport from a
non-EU country, you can bring in up to £390 worth of goods for
personal use without paying customs duty or VAT (excluding tobacco
and alcohol, which have separate allowances). Arriving by other
means, including by private plane or boat for pleasure purposes, you
can bring in goods up to the value of £270. Above these allowances
and up to £630, there is a duty flat rate of 2.5%.
7. Detailed information on the non-EU limits for alcohol and tobacco
products can be found on HMRC's
8. If you are thinking of going across the Channel to replenish
beers, wines, spirits or tobacco products, there are no limits on
the amounts of duty and tax paid goods you can bring back personally
from another EU country, as long as they are for your own use. You
may, however, be asked questions at the UK border if you have more
► 110 litres of beer.
► 90 litres of wine.
► 10 litres of spirits.
► 20 litres of fortified wines.
► 800 cigarettes.
► 200 cigars.
► 400 cigarillos
► 1kg of tobacco
This is to establish these quantities are genuinely for your own
9. The duty free limits for imports of alcohol and tobacco products
from outside the EU are:-
You can bring in either, but not
both, of the following:-
► 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume.
► 2 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), sparkling
wine or any other alcoholic drink that is less than 22% volume
Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in
one litre of fortified wine (half your full allowance) you can also
bring in half a litre of spirits (half your full allowance). This
would make up your full allowance and you can't go over your total
In addition you may also bring back both of the following:-
► 16 litres of beer.
► 4 litres of still wine.
You can bring in 1 from the
► 200 cigarettes.
► 100 cigarillos.
► 50 cigars.
► 250g of tobacco.
Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in
100 cigarettes (half your full allowance) you can also bring in 25
cigars (half your full allowance). This would make up your full
tobacco allowance. You can't go over your total tobacco allowance.
combine alcohol and tobacco allowances
10. When travelling to the UK from
outside the EU, if you bring in any single item worth more than the
£390 goods allowance (£270 if arriving by other means, including
private plane or boat for pleasure purposes), you must pay duty
and/or tax on the full item value, not just the value above the
allowance. You also cannot group individual allowances together to
bring in an item worth more than the limit.
11. Further information on postal imports and travellers allowances
can be found
12. Individuals under the age of 17 are not entitled to any alcohol
or tobacco allowances.