HMRC to target fake alcohol retailers

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is to carry out raids on shops across the UK suspected of selling counterfeit alcohol.

A pilot scheme at stores in Peterborough, Newcastle, Boston, in Lincolnshire, and St Albans, Herts has already led to a number of prosecutions, with 16 outlets having their alcohol or cigarette licence revoked or suspended.

HMRC says it will target shops serving foreign communities, often owned by non-UK nationals.

In some cases during the pilot scheme, fake vodka was found to contain isopropyl alcohol, a chemical found in cleaning fluids.

One shop owner in Boston said he was sold five cases of vodka on his doorstep, which were then found to contain isopropyl.

Last month five men died in an explosion at an illegal distillery in Boston.

Police confirmed that the industrial unit was being used to produce counterfeit vodka.

Officers said the premises at the Broadfield Industrial Estate housed a “filtration plant that was being used for the production of illicit alcohol being distributed and sold as vodka”.

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