Dear Sir,
I refer to the letter in your issue dated 28th May concerning the unfortunate experience of Dr Garry Bonsall whose car was confiscated until he paid an import duty tax.

I have now suffered an even worse experience at the hands of the Spanish authorities. Two Customs officers arrived at my house and told me they were impounding my two boats and my two cars until I paid an import duty of 16% of their total value, plus interest from the time they had been on the island, plus a 70% fine for having them here. The total sum involved in excess of FIFTEEN MILLION pesetas.

They said I had to pay this because I was a resident, which I strenuously deny and feel they are only using this reason because of the amount of money involved, but that is another issue. Although I have paid the import duty and the interest on the boats and cars in order to use them, I will be contesting the legality of the manner in which the money was extracted from me. I am also appealing against the fine which is quite horrendous and been given without the benefit of a court hearing. I agree with Dr Bonsall that as Europeans, residents or not, we should be allowed the free movement of our goods and that “foreigners” are being unfairly targeted, I think illegally, as a very easy and convenient means of extracting more money from us, ie, pay us the money or you can't use your goods. All the marinas in Majorca are full of “foreign” owned boats and the authorities are looking for excuses to extract money from their owners. I feel we must have some protection and our legal standing to be clarified.

I have now joined Dr Bonsall in seeking legal advice. If we do not get justice here in Spain, we are both prepared to take our cases to the highest European court in an effort to obtain a fair and just hearing, as this is clearly against the European spirit, and urge any other persons who have suffered or are suffering in the same way to join us.