HMRC has announced a new crackdown on some of the UK’s most notorious hotspots for the sale and supply of illicit tobacco and alcohol.
Officers will carry out checks on shops, warehouses, self-storage sites, businesses and workplaces, using the latest intelligence to identify high risk areas.
Welcoming the crackdown, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “We believe that any retailer who sells non-duty paid alcohol or tobacco should be subject to the full force of the law.
“This new wave of activity from HMRC is a welcome sign, and their commitment to working with licencing authorities gives hope that more retailers selling illicit alcohol and tobacco will lose their licence.”
Working with partner agencies such as local police forces and trading standards departments, HMRC compliance officers will also visit businesses and people who should be registered for tax and VAT.
Jennie Granger, director of HMRC’s director general of enforcement and compliance, said: “Tobacco and alcohol fraud costs taxpayers £3bn in lost revenue each year, as well as breeding criminality and undermining honest, legitimate traders.
“This HMRC-led activity will bring together specialists from across a range of law enforcement agencies to identify and tackle the problem of illegal tobacco and alcohol in our communities targeting areas we know are hotspots of illicit activity.”