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Alcohol taskforce targets illegal sales in Scotland

Press Release   •   Sep 23, 2013 15:11 BST

More than 40 officers from HMRC, South Lanarkshire Trading Standards and Police Scotland visited a number of premises in South Lanarkshire and Glasgow, where the illicit alcohol was seized.

Chris Brett, HMRC’s Alcohol Taskforce manager in Scotland, said:

“The South Lanarkshire operation is part of ongoing work with our partner agencies to target the illicit alcohol supply chain, including producers, storage facilities, wholesalers and retailers. We are also keen to work with, and support, local businesses that have to compete against these illegal sales.

“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 £1.2 billion in unpaid revenue each year. HMRC and the other agencies involved will now consider further action against offenders, including full tax and VAT investigations and a review of alcohol and other trading licenses.

“If you are aware of someone who is evading their taxes you can call HMRC’s Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Colin McDowall, Executive Director of Community and Enterprise Resources at South Lanarkshire Council, said:

"I am pleased that this joint operation has been successful, and our officers will continue to work with HMRC, and other partner agencies, to ensure that consumers and legitimate businesses are protected from illicit trade.”

Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations. The alcohol taskforce in Scotland is expected to bring in around £4 million.

Notes for editors

  1. In total 1,570litres of beer, 1,880 litres of wine and 1,282 litres of spirits were seized during the operation on Thursday (19 September).
  1. Previous taskforces in Scotland targeted restaurants, fast food outlets, scrap metal dealers, landlords and pubs and nightclubs. HMRC has launched 43 taskforces in the UK since 2011. A further 27 are planned for 2013-14 and 30 for 2014-15.
  1. The taskforces are part of HMRC’s broader work to tackle evasion and avoidance,  and includes campaigns, naming Deliberate Defaulters and offshore penalties.
  1. Taskforces arise out of the Government’s £917 million spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011-12, which aims to raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014-15.
  1. People who are aware of someone who is evading their taxes can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone, on 0800 788 887, by email or by post. Full details can be found at
  1. Pictures of the seizures are available on HMRC’s Flickr channel
  1. Follow HMRC on Twitter at: @hmrcgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.