SWA and SGF join-up to tackle illicit trading

Two leading trade associations have joined forces in a bid to combat the illicit alcohol trade in Scotland.

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) and Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), working closely with HMRC’s Illicit Alcohol Task Force, are collaborating to create a single point of contact for retailers and wholesalers’ concerned about suspected illegal activity.

Announcing the news at the SWA’s annual conference, president Asim Sarwar said: “This is one of the big issues on which we will make better progress through collaboration, so we’re delighted to announce that we have taken a significant step forward in combating illicit alcohol trade in Scotland.

“Creating a single email point of contact for the convenience store and wholesale industries in Scotland will ensure that concerns will be forwarded to the Task Force, and be prioritised appropriately. This is major progress for our industry.”

The SGF’s chief executive, John Drummond, said: “Illicit trade impacts on our members’ businesses and is often underpinned by serious and organised crime. Good information and closer-working with the trade is what enforcement agencies need most if they are to combat this criminal activity.

“Retailers and wholesalers may suspect who is involved in illicit alcohol sales in their communities so we need to create a step change in attitudes and encourage members to see the important role they have to play in ensuring a fair and competitive market.

“Collaboration is a key factor in successful enforcement activity and helps ensure successful targeting of the illicit market. The new reporting hub will enable members of both organisations to provide information on suspected illicit alcohol to their trade association.”

The move builds on the Scottish Parliamentary reception organised jointly by the organisations in January 2014.

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