UK: Illegal vodka plant closed

02 October, 2009

UK: A major counterfeit vodka manufacturing and bottling plant has been closed in Leicestershire, following raids by HM Revenue & Customs officers (HMRC).

Six men have been arrested and officers seized ten thousand litres of fake vodka, branded as Glens, manufacturing equipment including stills, bottles and counterfeit packaging – labels and cardboard boxes.

Over 35,000 litres of pure alcohol were also seized, enough to make around 100,000 litres of vodka. According to HMRC, the potential revenue loss to the public purse on yesterday’s haul is over £1 million.

Andrew Pavlinic, assistant chief investigation officer for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), said: “The success of this operation is a result of our determined efforts to disrupt and dismantle the illegal supply of alcohol. Organised crime has a detrimental and harmful effect on all our communities as well as a damaging impact on our environment. The revenue loss to the public purse on alcohol fraud relating to spirits is around £225 million a year – money vitally needed for our public services."

Edwin Atkinson, director general, Gin & Vodka Association (GVA) said: “The GVA remains concerned at the number of reports of fake or otherwise illicit vodka, and continues to assist HM Customs in their enquiries whenever possible. We have a Memorandum of Understanding with HMRC which sets out a framework of co-operation between HMRC and individual GVA members, in order to minimise the smuggling or diversion of any gin and vodka onto the UK market without payment of excise duty”.