The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is aiming to sign up at least 20 retailers to trial a new scheme to boost spirit sales in the independent sector.

The marketing exercise is code-named PLOD - Putting Leaders on Display. Under the scheme, retailers will be provided with security caps for high value bottles of alcohol to encourage stores to merchandise spirits within the main body of the store rather than behind the counter and, as a result, increase sales.

The security caps can only be removed using specialised equipment at the till, so would-be thieves would have to smash a bottle to get at the alcohol. Participating retailers would be provided with the caps and equipment when ordering their usual stock.

FWD Blueprint chairman Alan Toft said: “The security caps will be distributed eventually by every wholesaler selling spirits, but we will first prove the economics of this new thinking. “We must overcome the tradition of displaying spirits behind the counter - it’s the biggest block on sales in the local market and a throwback we must change. “With this scheme, the Blueprint is opening up the first new path to increased profits from spirits for independents since the first bottle of Scotch was distilled.”