Warning of black market booze

05 September, 2008

The worsening economic situation could spark

a revival in bootleg booze, according to

a Home Office letter to the Prime Minister

leaked to the media this week.

But the letter also predicted

the downturn could put an end to deep discounting, prompting a decrease in alcohol-fuelled violence in town centres.

"In an economic downturn we expect a significant increase in smuggling, in particular of fuel, alcohol and tobacco, but also across a wider range of goods," the letter stated.

Ministers have played down the significance of the letter, stressing it was only a draft and that much of its contents were "blindingly obvious".

But Wine & Spirit Trade Association communications chief Gavin Partington agreed

a recession may encourage illegal alcohol sales.

"Clearly times are tough and people are looking to cut back on spending," he said, "so I suppose one aspect of that may well be an increase in illicit trade.

"You could look back to the growth of cross-border trade in the 80s as evidence of this."

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