Retailer warning after illicit alcohol centre discovered

08 January, 2015

Retailers have been warned not to give into the temptation of buying illicit booze after police discovered a distribution centre for counterfeit alcohol.

HMRC officers teamed up with Nottinghamshire Police to raid an industrial unit where they discovered 310,000 litres of alcohol that had no duty paid.

The haul is said to be enough to fill 15 lorries and the 295,000 litres of beer and 15,000 litres of wine were estimated to be worth £350,000 in lost duty and taxes. 

Stuart Taylor, assistant director for criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “We want to warn local shopkeepers who are being offered cheap deals on alcohol to buy their stock only from legitimate and reputable sources, as selling duty free or counterfeit alcohol is a serious criminal offence.

“If they are caught, retailers selling illicit goods may have their stock seized, face a fine or have their licence to sell alcohol permanently revoked. They could also face prosecution.

“We are committed to stopping this criminal activity that costs the taxpayer around £1.2 billion in unpaid revenue each year and I would urge anyone with any information on the sale of illegal alcohol to contact us on the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Usha Madaraa, neighbourhood policing sergeant for Basford in Nottinghamshire, said: “This was an excellent result for all agencies involved. The location was first flagged thanks to an anonymous call about suspicious activity at the warehouse, which we followed up.

“The attending PCSO was dissatisfied with the paperwork presented by lorry drivers at the scene and called for back-up. The police team conducted further enquiries, including tacograph checks, and contacted HMRC who successfully made the seizure - together disrupting a significant level of illegal activity.”

No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.

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