UK retailers warned over illicit alcohol sales

10th March, 2014 by Melita Kiely

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has warned independent retailers to be cautious of being sold illicit alcohol or face losing both their stock and alcohol licence.

illicit alcohol

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has warned retailers to be vigilant about illicit alcohol

Following a string of raids on independent retailers across the UK, the FWD, police, Trading Standards and HMRC have revealed that illegal alcohol products on which UK duty has not been paid is costing the Government £1.2 billion in lost revenue each year.

From 2012 to 2013, HMRC said it seized more than 12 million litres of duty-unpaid alcohol – three times more than the previous year.

James Bielby, FWD chief executive, said: “Retailers who are offered very cheap deals on alcohol really must ask themselves if the prices are too good to be true.

“In the past few months there has been a significant increase in activity to target illegal alcohol, much of it aimed at the retailers themselves.

“Shop owners are risking their licence and their livelihood if they get involved with criminal activity, and it is their responsibility to ensure they buy from a legitimate source.”

In Edmuton, North London, officers seized 60,000 litres of smuggled vodka and beer – worth approximately £450,000 in lost revenue – from a raid on two industrial units.

Meanwhile in North East London, 25,000 litres of illegal beers, wines and spirits were found in a warehouse in Gateshead.

In January 2014, the Government set up a Joint Industry Alcohol Anti-Fraud Taskforce to tackle the issue and make help retailers ensure they stay within the law.

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