1m alcohol haul at ports

UK Border Agency officials have seized over £1 million of alcohol destined for the Christmas black market in a single week at three English ports.

More than 300,000 litres of beer, cider, wine and spirits were held at Dover, Poole and Tilbury in the last week of November.

The UKBA said the nine separate seizures would have represented a deficit to the Treasury in lost excise duty and VAT of £900,000, if the alcohol had made it on to the illicit market.

UKBA regional director Carole Upshall said: “This level of alcohol seizures leads us to believe that criminals are trying to exploit the pressure on household finances by offering cheap booze in the lead up to Christmas.”

The biggest single seizure was 80,000 litres of Italian wine spread across five containers at Tilbury.

Bob Gaiger, MH Revenue & Customs regional spokesman, said: “Alcohol smuggling lines the pockets of criminals and deprives honest retailers of legitimate business.”