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UK customs seize 550,000 litres of alcohol

More than 550,000 litres of illegal beer, wine and spirits have been seized by the UK HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of a six-week crackdown on smuggling.

Some of the alcohol seized during Operation Salmanazar

Operation Salmanazar was carried out at the Port of Dover over a six-week period to further clampdown on excise fraud and smuggling.

HMRC officers worked with Border Force and the French customs authorities to identify vehicles carrying non-duty-paid alcohol from Calais to Dover.

Alcohol seized is estimated to represent a potential revenue loss of more than £1.3 million. A total of 27 vehicles were also destroyed in order to disrupt the illegal supply of alcohol into the UK by criminal gangs.

Some of the alcohol seized during Operation Salmanazar

“The alcohol has been seized in order to protect legitimate traders and the public finances, and the vehicles have been destroyed to leave no room for the criminals to manoeuvre”, said Richard Las, HMRC’s deputy director of criminal investigation.

“We also made three arrests where investigations continue and anyone we catch can expect to feel the full force of our powers, including financial penalties and potentially a criminal record. We work closely with other partner agencies to help us identify, target and disrupt these organised criminal gangs smuggling alcohol into the country.”

The overnight operations ran over a six-week period, intercepting vehicles carrying alcohol.

In total 370,100 litres of beer, 120,559 litres of wine, 49,284 litres of spirits and 16,129 litres of cider were seized.

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