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Alcohol seized in crackdown

By Amber Rolt on 1/10/14 10:00 AM

Following a European wide crackdown on alcohol smuggling, UK customs have seized 137,000 litres of alcohol in a special operation against counterfeit booze which has recently been plaguing the market.

The operation was called ‘Operation Archimedes’, a Europol intelligence-led operation which was initiated in the UK used special provisions and 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.

In a combined force of Trading Standards, Kent Police, HMRC and Border Force, they successfully seized 137,124 litres of illegal alcohol during the operation which spread over four days from the 15 to 19 September.

In total there was 132,940 litres of beer (which comes to roughly 250,000 pints), 260 litres of spirits and  3,924 litres of wine ( that’s more than 4,000 bottles worth).

After reports on the increase of the illegal alcohol trade in Britain, it is estimated that the illegal alcohol trade and smuggling costs the UK economy a staggering £1 billion a year. This month’s success is one of HMRC’s biggest attempts at tackling alcohol crime. It is a serious criminal threat, not to mention the health risks involved. Law enforcement agencies will also be joining the battle against what has been called ‘one of the UK’s 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.