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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 06:02 GMT
Death of the booze cruise: Decision
Declan Curry in Calais
Breakfast was in France today ahead of an EU announcement about buying duty free alcohol and cigarettes from the continent online.

Declan was at a hyper-market in France.

He brought us the unexpected news that the European Court of Justice will not allow UK based consumers to buy cheap alcohol and cigarettes online or through mail-order.

It was expected that the ECJ would allow consumers to buy cheap alcohol online - that would have spelt the end of the booze cruise, because it would have been no longer necessary to drive to France in order to benefit from lower prices.

That would have meant a potential loss for the taxman, who's expecting to make 16bn from the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol this year.

Customer at a Calais hypermarket
Customers will have to bring back their purchases

Today's ruling means that UK residents will have to bring back the cheaper goods themselves - as they do now.

The decision goes against an interim ruling from the court last year.

It suggested it would be possible to order the goods from your armchair and have them delivered to your door as long as the goods were for personal consumption and you arranged the transport of the goods yourself.

  • Declan broke the news of the announcement on this morning's programme - watch again from the link to the right
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    Declan in France
    With the decision on buying alcohol from abroad online and by mail-order



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