Industry watchdogs have revealed alarming statistics regarding fraud in the licensed trade in Scotland, suggesting that consumers are being swindled out of up to £4m a year by publicans substituting cheaper spirits for Scotch blends and malts.

New research suggests that one in 10 landlords regularly refills bottles with cheaper spirits, while one in six has engaged in the fraud occasionally.

The International Federation of Spirits Producers (IFSP) has called for bigger fines for licensees found to be replacing branded spirits with cheaper products.