HM Revenue amp; Customs has warned people in Essex to be on the look out for traders selling smuggled alcohol in the run up to Christmas.
This follows a series of major seizures across the county in recent weeks of illicit wine, beer, cider and vodka.
In total over 300,000 litres of beer, 120 litres of wine and 72,000 litres of cider were intercepted with an estimated duty loss of £400,000. The alcohol was discovered in a range of premises including unmarked storage and warehouse facilities, retail shops, and loaded onto HGV vehicles and trailers.
• In two incidents in Barking over 54,000 litres of smuggled beer was seized from a storage warehouse and from the back of a trailer unit. The trailer and lorry were confiscated;
• When officers searched a warehouse in Witham they discovered a lorry fully loaded with 130,000 litres of wine on which the duty had not been paid;
• At a self storage unit in Dagenham officers seized 2,000 litres of spirits, mostly Vodka with fake labels and counterfeit duty paid stamps ready to be stuck on the bottles;
• In Thurrock two HGV vehicles and their trailers were seized along with over 46,000 litres of illicit beer; and
• At storage premises in Brentwood officers found more than 47,000 litres of smuggled beer loaded on a lorry and trailer. All were confiscated.
Full details of seizures cannot be given due to ongoing investigations.