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HMRC bust seizes 68K litres of alcohol smuggled into the UK

Published:  22 May, 2015

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers in combination with Border Force and French Customs seized 68,000L and three lorries in the Port of Dover in an overnight operation earlier this week.

The seizures that were made included 67,317L of beer and 1,125L of wine.  In total the value of duty of the seizure combined was £95,622.

HMRC's deputy director, criminal investigation Richard Las said: "Alcohol fraud costs taxpayers £1.3 billion in lost revenue each year. It is not a victimless crime, it breeds criminality, as well as undermining honest, legitimate traders."

The operation is part of a crackdown on excise fraud and smuggling with a specific focus on identifying vehicles carrying non-duty paid alcohol between Calais and Dover.

"Border force officers carry out intelligence-led anti-smuggling checks supported by the use of high-tech equipment to detect alcohol that smugglers attempt to bring into he country. Vast amounts of alcohol are seized at the border every month but this is just on part of a complex picture," said Paul Morgan, the Border Force regional director.

Las warned that those caught could "expect to feel the full force of our powers."

As part of the bust and to hinder further criminal activity the operation is looking at identifying haulage companies believed to "be complicit in the fraud" and they should anticipate the possibility of further civil or criminal enforcement. Also drivers who were stopped could also "potentially have their tax affairs looked at in more detail."

Las warned: "We work closely with other partner agencies to help us identify, target and disrupt these organised criminal gangs smuggling alcohol into the country."