House of Lords
Sir: Your article "Where ignorance is blitz" (17 August) questions the need for, and ability of, Customs to examine the contents of computer files.
Officers may examine laptop computers because experience has shown that these are used to smuggle appalling paedophile images. We would be failing the public if we were to ignore the scope for smuggling obscene material by this means.
Officers routinely encounter all manner of people and goods and cannot be expected to be experts in every field. Technical staff are available to assist when necessary.
Director, Operations (Prevention)
Board of Customs and Excise
Sir: I recently attended a wedding at which the date was written in Roman numerals as MIIM for 1998. May I commend to the BBC in particular this way of writing the date both for its simplicity and as a way of concentrating government, management and computer minds on the proximity of the millennium. Next year will be MIM and the big one MM.
South Croydon, Surrey
Sir: I have just returned from holiday in Spain and could not believe the price of cigarettes. A packet of 20 costs 210 pesetas (88p) against somepounds 3.30 in the UK. How can Gordon Brown justify such a rip-off, or do cigarette smokers not qualify for social justice?
Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire