A boat being used as an off-shore "off-licence" has been detained by UK Customs. The vessel, owned by Phil Berriman, was seized when it arrived in Hartlepool because of bad weather.

The 72-foot Rich Harvest was being used to sell alcohol and cigarettes 13 miles off the English coast. Berriman and his partner Trevor Lyons, a marine law expert, were selling cigarettes and spirits bought in Germany. The pair had made £10,000 profit in four days selling them at duty-free prices from the boat.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Berriman said that he had declared his stock to Customs when he docked in Hartlepool. "They just wanted me out of there within a few hours and I said fine," he told the newspaper. "Then they went back on the agreement. We're confident we'll get the goods back."

A Customs spokesman told the paper: "The boat and the goods have been detained and still belong to Mr Berriman. We are still carrying out inquiries and have not decided what action we will be taking."