UK: Major illegal vodka plant discovered

By | 2 October 2009

A major counterfeit vodka manufacturing and bottling plant has been dismantled in Leicestershire, UK, following raids by HM Revenue & Customs officers.

Around 70 officers took part in the two-day operation, resulting in the seizure of 10,000 litres of fake vodka, branded as Glens.

More than 35,000 litres of pure alcohol were also seized, enough to make around 100,000 litres of vodka. The customs office estimated the potential revenue loss to the public purse on yesterday's haul at over GBP1m (US$1.6m).

Officers found manufacturing equipment, including stills, bottles and counterfeit packaging, labels and cardboard boxes.

Andrew Pavlinic, assistant chief investigation officer for HM Revenue & Customs, said: "The success of this operation is a result of our determined efforts to disrupt and dismantle the illegal supply of alcohol. Organised crime has a detrimental and harmful effect on all our communities as well as a damaging impact on our environment. The revenue loss to the public purse on alcohol fraud relating to spirits is around GBP225m a year - money vitally needed for our public services."

The action follows an investigation into a suspected illegal counterfeit alcohol manufacturing operation based at a remote industrial unit at a farm near Little Dalby, Leicestershire.

It is believed this was a substantial production bottle and distribution plant with the infrastructure to distribute large quantities of counterfeit Glen's vodka throughout the UK. 

Six men arrested have been released on bail until January 2010.

The spirits industry has recently been calling for tougher action on counterfeiting with the European spirits trade body, saying that its federation is under increasing pressure from members to act against counterfeiting.

Sectors: Spirits

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