Customs seize 5700 litres of alcohol in raids

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have seized nearly 5,700 litres of alcohol during a series of raids in Edinburgh.

EdinburghThe officers visited 49 retail outlets across the city looking for illegal sales of beer, wine and spirits. The raids targeted shops, restaurants, fast food outlets and pubs across the city and found 5177 litres of beer, 272 litres of wine and 192 litres of spirits on which tax had not been paid.

The operation was supported by police officers as well as staff from the city council’s Trading Standards and Environmental Health.

Councillor Cammy Day told STV: “The illegal trade of products like alcohol can be used to fund crime and can have a highly detrimental effect on the city’s honest retailers and on people’s health.

“I am very pleased that this initiative has been so successful and I think the amount of products seized demonstrates the need to be vigilant. We will continue to work closely with the HMRC to ensure that consumers and legitimate traders are protected from the impact of this illegal activity.”

Officials from HMRC and the council will now decide if the shops will face further tax investigations or have their alcohol licences reviewed.

Chris Brett, from HMRC, said: “Anyone handling or selling smuggled alcohol should be aware that HMRC teams are active across Scotland. We are committed to stopping this criminal activity which costs the taxpayer around £1.2bn in unpaid revenue each year.

“The Edinburgh operation is not a one-off exercise and is part of ongoing work with our partner agencies to combat this crime. We are also keen to work closely with and support local businesses that have to compete against these illegal sales.”

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