12 Jul 2008

More illegal smoking pipes being seized

5:50 pm on 12 July 2008

Customs officers seized 289 hookah pipes from travellers last year.

The pipes are prohibited imports because they can be used to smoke illegal drugs.

Customs spokesperson Simon Williamson says there has been an increase in the number of pipes intercepted over the past two years, mainly brought by people travelling from the Middle East.

He says most people are not deliberately breaking the law, they simply don't realise the pipes are illegal. He says the pipes are confiscated, but the traveller is not usually prosecuted.

Customs is warning that travel can be delayed while search and seizure procedures are carried out, and the passenger can be liable for costs to disable the pipe as a smoking utensil.