Found out that it's not the garden path ... this is from the UK HMRC website:
What goods can I bring back from the EU?
Goods obtained in the EU will already include VAT and duty applicable to the country where the goods were obtained. No additional VAT or Customs duty will be payable on entry into the UK. There is no limit to the amount of excise goods (such as tobacco or alcohol) you can bring into the UK (except from certain member states), provided these are carried by you and are for your own use - which includes gifts. If you bring in goods for resale, or for any payment, even payment in kind, they are regarded as being for a commercial purpose.
If you bring back large quantities of alcohol or tobacco, a customs officer may ask you about the purposes for which you hold the goods. This particularly applies if you have with you more than the following amounts:
- 3200 cigarettes
- 400 cigarillos
- 200 cigars
- 3kg smoking tobacco
- 10 litres of spirits
- 20 litres of fortified wine
- 90 litres of wine
- 110 litres of beer.
The officer will take into account all the factors of the situation and your explanation. If you are unable or you refuse to provide a satisfactory explanation the Officer may well conclude that those goods are for commercial purposes and not for your own use.
If the officer is satisfied the goods are being brought into the UK for a commercial purpose, and are not for own use, the goods, along with any vehicle used to transport them, will be liable to seizure and may not be returned.