Customs officers raid 33 Brighton and Hove off-licences in two days

Posted On 03 Feb 2012 at 12:20 pm

Officers from Customs, Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove trading standards seized cigarettes and alcohol during two days of raids.

They seized large quantities of illicit alcohol and tobacco from among the 33 shops and off-licences that were targeted.

At one shop they found a consignment of alcohol on which duty had not been paid being unloaded from a van.

They estimated that the revenue lost amounted to £71,756 as they seized

  • 2,600 smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes
  • 50kg of shisha tobacco
  • 2,950 bottles of spirits and wine
  • 2,270 litres of beer

A number of the premises face licensing reviews as a result of the raids which may mean that they lose their liquor licences.

This would effectively ban them from selling or storing alcohol.

Bob Gaiger, from Revenue and Customs, said: “Alcohol and tobacco fraud harms honest businesses, costs jobs and takes money away from public services.

“Increasingly, it is run by highly organised criminal gangs.

“We are keen to work closely with local residents and communities in the fight against this type of crime.”

He urged anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty-free alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000 or to email

He said: “Tobacco smugglers alone drain over £2 billion in revenue from the public purse each year.

“This type of fraud is a problem which we are determined to crack.”

Counterfeit alcohol enters the retail market from the backs of vans across the country, he said, often made in illegal factories in Britain.

It is also produced on an industrial scale in Eastern Europe and smuggled into Britain.

Brighton and Hove City Council trading standards said: “Partnership working is an excellent way for us to support local law-abiding businesses while protecting the public from potentially dangerous goods.”

No arrests were made during the two-day ooperation although investigations are continuing pending criminal prosecutions.

  1. damien Reply

    so how do these products end up being sold cheaper than the wholesaler? Ofcourse people would buy cheaper fags and alcohol.The society has always wanted it cheap. And what did the government do? Put the duty so high that people can’t afford it and hence we get a ground fertile for criminal activity. Who is inducing crime and making hard working commununities labelled like criminals?
    AAw you saying it makes jobs for the police and the courts and the solicitors and the prisons.
    A little circle of economy going round then, yeah ?

    • Fishwife, 49 Reply

      Um, no.
      Seriously, stop smoking it if it does that to you.

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