Smuggling was when people illegally brought foreign goods into the country by not declaring them to the government officials on the coastline.  The goods brought in were sold on the black market cheaper because the taxes on the goods hadn't been paid.
 In the 16th Century tobacco was the main item smuggled in from France to England and Wales.In the 17th Century the main item smuggled in was tea.  Wine, spirits, silk and lace was also smuggled in by small night boats.  Some people thought smugglers were adventurers and others thought it was a function to keep prices down.  The government accused smugglers were damaging the country's economy.  Smugglers main concern was to make a profit not provide a service.  Many gangs organised smuggling like the famous Hawkhursts.  Some if necessary, killed customs officials or torture them to find out information.

Punishments For Smuggling

There was many punishments for smuggling, which depend on the value and amount of the goods smuggled, and the degree of violence commited.  The ultimate punishment was death.
Smuggling was at it's peak in the 18th Century.  This declined during the 19th Century because of lower price which the government had introduced.  Smuggling in the 20th Century has changed to smuggling items such as drugs and pornography.

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