Alcohol smuggling targeted
Earlier this year HMRC launched a new initiative to tackle some of the UK’s most notorious hotspots for the sale and supply of illicit tobacco and alcohol as part of its overall remit to tackle tax fraud. The initiative has seen HMRC officers carrying out checks on shops, warehouses, self-storage sites, businesses and workplaces suspected of being used to sell, store, supply or distribute illicit tobacco and alcohol. Owners of premises where illicit goods are found face seizure of goods, fines, and a possible prosecution.
Recently, some 250 HMRC officers as well as officers from partner agencies in the UK and across Europe, took part in an operation targeting alcohol smuggling at UK ports and inland at 23 locations including alcohol retail units, haulier truck stops, industrial units and warehouses across England. The European wide operation was led by Europol and resulted in the seizure of over 137,000 litres of illicit alcohol.
John Pointing, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
‘Alcohol smuggling costs the UK economy around £1 billion a year in lost revenue. HMRC is committed to tackling alcohol crime and this month’s action has had an outstanding impact in bringing law enforcement agencies across the UK and Europe together to disrupt one of the most serious organised criminal threats.’