A new e-book called The Baccy Boat reveals how a 72ft schooner became a duty free off-licence moored in international waters


A boater who set up the very first ‘off-shore off-licence’ has detailed his exploits in a new e-book called The Baccy Boat.

Phil Berriman anchored 13 miles off the north west coast of Hartlepool in his 72ft schooner stocked with duty free cigarettes and alcohol.

Customers would cruise past the 12-mile limit into international waters and moor up next to his boat The Rich Harvest to buy the tax-free goods.

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Berriman used to collect stock from Heligoland, a tiny island in the German Bight after setting up the business with an unamed maritime law expert.

He said: “I was doing it secretly until I had an accident and the lifeboat picked me up.”

Berriman was caught by customs officers with more than £120,000 worth of duty free goods in 2004.

Although they declared his sales tactics were legal, the business was shut down when customers were faced with paying the tax on their purchases upon returning to shore.

The announcement comes just weeks after the publication of another book by Berriman, called The Waccy Baccy Book – an account of his part in the UK’s largest cannabis smuggling operation.

Berriman used his skills as a yachtsmen to sail 3000 miles from Africa to Falmouth with £12.5m of cannabis on board.

But the father of three was cleared of all charges in court when he revealed he was forced to participate by Tyneside gangsters who had threatened to kill his family.

Berriman said: “The full story of the court case didn’t come out at the time so a lot of people were very sceptical when I was cleared. The Observer reported it 18 months later but I still feel I need to clear my name.

“I’ve waited a long time to put the record straight. But I’m delighted with what I’ve achieved.

He added: “I was the victim and I proved it in court. But to this day people still don’t believe me and say I was lucky to get off. This should put them right.”