HISTORICALEIGH - Beating the Customs Officer

May 26, 2015 by Carole Mulroney

Smuggling was of course a very lucrative pastime for the men of Leigh and in the centre of the old town is the Customs House built in 1815. But there had been one there before this and in 1781 a sale at the Customs House of contraband items and boats seized included 680 gallons of gin, 82 gallons of brandy, 47 gallons of rum, 275 quarts of port, 120 quarts of claret, 33 yards of calico, much foreign china and a sloop and small sailing boat.

In 1802 the Customs Officer noted that he had made a seizure every day in the month of July and in 1872 the Customs Officer reported the canniness of the Leigh men. The fishermen came crowding in on the tide so that the coast guard could not hope to board all of them. They moored at their back doors and as there was no patrol they unloaded the goods and whisked them away.