A criminal gang found responsible for selling alcohol illegally in the UK has been jailed for a total of 19 years.

The criminals, which were caught by HM Revenue and Customs investigators, were found to have laundered large amounts of cash through two businesses. The cash was made from selling alcohol illegally in the UK without paying excise duty or VAT.

An analysis of the businesses records found that Eurolink Trading and Saffire Trading were run to launder the proceeds of illicit alcohol sold in the UK.

Between November 2010 and February 2012, £15m in proceeds from these illegal sales was transferred from the company’s bank accounts into their main supplier’s bank account. This supplier, York Wines of Southend on Sea, has since ceased trading.

HMRC investigators seized £19,190 in cash, businesses records, phones and computers at Saffire Trading’s business premises.

The four defendants – named as Louca Christos Louca and Gary Bissenden from Kent, Lucy Buckingham from East Grinstead, West Sussex and Steve Randall from Romford, Essex – have been found guilty following an eight-week trial. They were jailed for a total of 19 years at Southwark Crown Court on 22 April this year.