FWD goes undercover for BBC investigation

FWD chief executive James Bielby went undercover to investigate suspicious alcohol wholesalers for a BBC documentary.

Accompanied by a radio news journalist, James posed as a potential customer to expose apparent duty-avoidance in premises in the North West of England. He then reported back what he had seen in the back-street industrial units.

The investigation was based on reports from FWD members of very low prices and ‘off invoice’ stock offers in the area.

The team for Radio Four’s File on Four also spoke to FWD members, HMRC and retailers for the 40-minute programme which aired on Tues (Oct 9).

James Bielby said: “The typical set up is an almost empty industrial unit, with a few pallets of beer visible. We were told they could get us any stock we wanted by the following day, cash only. 

“The price for a case of beer such as Fosters or Carling was generally around £5 less than in a nearby FWD member, and only £3 more than the duty due on the product. We don’t believe these prices are sustainable if trading within the law.”

You can listen to the programme here: File on Four Tuesday October 9 20.00

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