Smuggled alcohol hits 13m
Published:  19 March, 2010

Smuggled alcohol with a retail value of more than 13 million has been seized by Customs officers since April 1.

The 2009-10 financial year is on course to yield more smuggled drinks than the previous two years put together, according to official data from HMRC and the UK Border Agency.

Between April 1 2009 and February 28 2010, the total value of alcohol seized from smugglers came to 13.3 million. The figure includes the VAT and duty that would have been payable at UK rates.

It compares to 8.7 million in 2008-09 and 5.1 million in 2007-08 and could well eclipse the 14.1 million figure recorded in 2003-04, the first year in which central calculations were made.

The figures were given this week by Treasury minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry in response to a question from Liberal Democrat MP Paul Holmes.

It is not yet clear whether the increase represents a surge in smuggling or a more effective response by HMRC and the UKBA.




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