The Essex company Vestguard UK Ltd has been fined £10,000 for exporting military body armour without the correct export licences, following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Vestguard UK Ltd pleaded guilty to 15 breaches of UK export control legislation at City Magistrates’ Court in London.
No export license for military body armour
The 15 consignments of military body armour, valued at £128,130, were exported to a number of Middle Eastern countries. Exportation of all military goods is strictly regulated by the Department of Trade and Industry in order to protect security and uphold foreign policy and United Nations requirements.
Kevin Davis, Assistant Chief Investigation Officer for HMRC said:
It is essential for our own protection and to ensure the UK meets its international obligations that the strict regulation of the export of military equipment is rigorously upheld.
This case should serve as reminder to military body armour manufacturers that any company which fails to comply with export regulations faces a heavy penalty.
It is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure that they act within the law. HM Revenue & Customs will actively pursue any breaches of the regulations, whether deliberate or negligent.”
This case was successfully prosecuted by the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO). RCPO is an independent prosecuting authority, which reports to the Attorney General, and is responsible for the prosecution of all HMRC cases.