Bestway Wholesale this week pledged its support in tackling the illegal trade in alcohol by signing up to the Government’s Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme (AWRS) – and by launching a campaign to get retailers to purchase only from AWRS-registered outlets.
The scheme, which comes into force on April 1, will put the onus on customers to prove that they are purchasing their alcohol from vetted wholesalers in a bid to stop the increasing levels of non-duty paid stock entering the country.
Martin Race, managing director for Bestway Wholesale comments “The fraudulent trade in alcohol has been a major problem for many years. The wholesaler sector and our customers have suffered as white van man and other less scrupulous ‘wholesalers’ have flooded the market with bootleg booze. The AWRS will clamp down on this supply and also provide customers with the confidence that they are operating within the legal framework.
We welcome the new scheme, are grateful for the work of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors in lobbying for the legislation and are proud to be among the first to register.”
Government statistics show the amount of alcohol sold illegally in the UK has reached its highest ever levels this century, with the fraudulent sales of beer alone now measured at 15% of the total UK market. Additionally, in 2014-15 the amount of non-duty paid spirits doubled from 6% to 12%.
“Retailers now have no excuses,” added Race. “They either buy from a registered wholesaler or potentially say bye-bye to their alcohol licence. Other penalties include seizure of stock and massive fines and it’s a statement of how far the problem has escalated over the past few years that these severe measures have been introduced.”
All Bestway and Batleys depots are now included in the AWRS and customers buying from Bestway and Batleys depots and the company’s websites can now buy their alcohol with confidence, said the company. Additionally posters and point of sale material showing the company’s AWRS registration numbers will be available in depot (see below) and will also be printed on customer invoices to show that they are legally compliant.