Five independent stores in Walthamstow, London, face losing their alcohol licences after illicit wine, spirits and tobacco were discovered in a further series of raids last week.

More than 50 stores were targeted as part of the sting by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Metropolitan Police and Walthamstow Trading Standards.

Almost 450 litres of wine, 264 litres of spirits, 54,020 cigarettes and nine kilos of illicit rolling tobacco were found.

Duty and VAT had not been paid on the goods, equating to a revenue loss of around £20,000 to the tax payer.

All five stores now risk losing their alcohol licences as part of a review by local licensing officers.

Police constable Matt Brown, from Waltham Forest Licensing Unit, said: “The licensing team are determined to target licensees who sell illegal alcohol from their premises.

“By working in partnership with HMRC, Trading Standards and Licensing we have seized a large quantity of illicit goods from licensed premises, who seem equally determined to disregard the law. Law abiding licensed premises can rest assured that we will be reviewing the licences of those caught during this operation. We will continue to commit resources to these problems in order to reduce crime.”

The Walthamstow raids are the latest in a series of high profile anti-illicit trade operations by the authorities.

More than 50 bottles of non-UK duty paid whisky and vodka and 12 kgs of shisha tobacco were seized in Lambeth last month, while a raid on two industrial units in Edmonton, North London netted 60,000 litres of smuggled vodka and beer.

In Burton-upon-Trent, police and Trading Standards removed alcohol worth £4,670 from a store, while in the North East 25,000 litres of illicit wine, beer and spirits were found in a warehouse in Gateshead.

FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “Retailers who are offered very cheap deals on alcohol really must ask themselves if the prices are too good to be true. In the past few months there has been a significant increase in activity to target illegal alcohol, much of it aimed at the retailers themselves.

“Shop owners are risking their licence and their livelihood if they get involved with criminal activity, and it is their responsibility to ensure they buy from a legitimate source.”

HMRC seized more than 12 million litres of duty-unpaid alcohol in 2012-13, three times more than the previous year.

In January 2014 the government set up a Joint Industry Alcohol Anti-Fraud Taskforce to tackle the issue and make help retailers ensure they stay within the law.