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Illegal booze seized by UK customs

UK customs officials have seized 137,000 litres of alcohol following a European-wide crackdown on alcohol smuggling.

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Operation Archimedes saw 137,000 litres of illicit alcohol seized by customs officers.

Operation Archimedes, a Europol intelligence-led operation spearheaded in the UK, used intense activity to disrupt alcohol smuggling networks across northern European countries and into the UK, with support from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

Working together with Border Force, Trading Standards and Kent Police, HMRC seized 137,124 litres of illegal alcohol during the operation which ran from 15 to 19 September.

Of the alcohol seized 132,940 litres was beer, the equivalent of 250,000 pints, 260 litres of spirits and 3,924 litres of wine, more than 4,000 bottles worth.

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.”

More than 250 HMRC officers, as well as officers from partner agencies in the UK and across Europe, took part in the operation targeting alcohol smuggling at UK ports, alcohol retail units, haulier truck stops, industrial units and warehouses across England.

Anyone with information regarding alcohol smuggling and fraud should call the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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