Storage container search sees “mindboggling” amount of alcohol seized

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Around 200,000 counterfeit cigarettes and approximately 900,000 cans of beer, wine and spirits have been seized during a multi-agency operation.

The news comes after Lincolnshire Police Alcohol Licensing Team and HM Revenue and Customs and Trading Standards Officers executed a search warrant on storage containers at Ruston Road, Alma Park Industrial Estate, Grantham.

Sergeant Kim Enderby from the Alcohol Licensing Team said, “This was a major operation that we had been planning for a number of months. Everything came together on Tuesday 27th November with spectacular results. What started out as a single piece of intelligence supplied by a member of the public to Lincolnshire Police has resulted in the largest single seizure of alcohol we have ever had in the county.

“The amount of alcohol seized was mindboggling; we had officers from all three agencies on site at 10am on Tuesday morning and didn’t finish counting and removing the alcohol until 3am on the morning of Wednesday 28th November. The retail value of the alcohol seized runs into the hundreds of thousands and those involved in this enterprise have also evaded paying thousands of pounds in duty.

“Enquiries are on-going by both HM Revenue And Customs (HMRC) and Trading Standards, whilst my team are looking at links to stores in Grantham that we believe have bought then sold these illegal items. Any identified could ultimately lose their licence to sell alcohol.

“This demonstrates that by pooling resources we still retain the ability to take really effective actions against those individuals involved in the illicit sale of alcohol and cigarettes. Having all three agencies working so closely together ensures that every angle is covered, we create the maximum amount of disruption, in the shortest possible time. We are already looking at future potential targets, so anyone involved in this activity can expect to be raided and hit where criminals feel it the most – in their wallets.”

Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer said : “This was a great example of partnership working. All organisations involved made a substantial contribution towards the overall success of the Operation.

“From a Trading Standards point of view we were particularly pleased with the recovery of dangerous counterfeit cigarettes destined for retail sale in Grantham, non-English labelled medicines some of which should only be available on prescription in the UK and the huge quantity of non-duty paid alcohol.

“The supply of this alcohol distorts competition between businesses in the Grantham area making it difficult for legitimate, law abiding businesses to survive. The Trading Standards Service is committed to protecting the safety of residents, and fair competition between businesses in Lincolnshire.”