A Welsh cycling club faces closure after being forced to pay €8,500 (£7,330) customs charge to take bikes on a Spanish charity ride.
Riders from the Tap It Out cycling club, based near Bridgend, were raising money for the Prostate Cymru charity and had raised more than £16,000 prior to the ride, reports the BBC.
They had flown to the start point at Santander and sent the bikes over by ferry. But when they attempted to pick them up, Spanish customs officials slapped them with the charge, despite protests that it was a charity ride.
The ride leader Nicky Morgan said the club managed to pay the charge out of its coffers, but that it would have to close as a result.
“My jaw just dropped,” he said of learning about the fees. “We were doing a charity event. It never entered our minds that we were going to sell bikes or be accused of selling bikes.”
Since breaking with Europe, moving goods in and out of the UK for business purposes incurs fees and requires a carnet. However, this was a charity ride, and rather than this being a legitimate charge, the feeling is that customs officials have wrongly applied a post-Brexit import fee to the bikes.
The club has been supported by Labour politicians, with Huw Irranca-Davies MS and Chris Elmore MP writing to the Spanish authorities to complain.
They said the charges “negated the very purpose of the charity bike ride — to raise funds for Prostate Cymru which is a cause dear to so many people — but also has left a very sour feeling in relations”.
They went on to demand a “full and immediate response explaining why these charges have been made”.
Irranca-Davies, a longtime supporter of Prostate Cymru, said he could see “no good reason” for the charge.
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