Sutton on Sea Smugglers
History
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In the 18th and in the early part of the 19th century, smuggling was common along the Sutton-on-Sea coast. Customs duty on tobacco, spirits, tea and silk made it a lucrative occupation although very dangerous. They were hard times so desperate measures were taken to make money.

The export of wool was taxed and at one point, banded. Unsold wool in England together with a great demand on the Continent lead to illegal exports. If caught, men were whipped, transported to penal colonies in Australia or sometimes, hanged.

In the middle of the night carts drawn by horses were driven through the sandhills and out into the shallow water to waiting ships. Kegs of gin and bales of silk were transferred and silently return into the night.

Sometimes the white faces of the horses were blackened and their hooves covered with sacks. The iron shod cart wheels were wrapped with straw. This was to deaden their sound if they had to pass over chalk roads. Otherwise, the noise would carry some distance on a still night. The contraband gin and tobacco would then be hidden away in barns, cellars and in secret hiding places in chimneys..

The Riding Officers of the Customs and Excise were established in 1898 Their responsibility was to prevent smuggled goods from being transported inland. They covered up to 10 miles inland.

Find more in "The Book of the Lincolnshire Seaside"
by David N. Robinson in the local library.

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