Wine & Spirit International ha s warned retailers to be on the look out for suspicious sources of Maxim's Champagne.
The company has been the victim of a fraud,
in which an individual ordered a large amount of Champagne, sending in a fake bank counterfoil to show the payment had been made.
A suspected fraudulent cheque had been used to pay the money into the bank
and the bank, when asked, had confirmed the payment.
The fraudster had posed as a genuine employee of a genuine company. Maxim's Champagne has very little distribution outside of John Lewis.
Four variants, all 75cl sizes, were in the stolen stock - Brut Vintage, Brut Rosé, Brut Classic and Années Folles. Retailers are advised to contact WSI direct on 0208 975 1023 if they are offered the wine by anyone other than a Maxim's Champagne official agent or the UK distributor, Lanchester Wine Cellars.
"They almost certainly have done this before and are likely to do it again," said WSI director Dale Sklar.
There is a reward for successful prosecution and return of the goods.