Corner shops selling bootleg booze bought from white-van man face major crackdown
For retailers will have "no excuses" if they get caught selling illegal alcohol products after the government's Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme (AWRS) kicks in from 1 April.
The scheme puts the onus on retailers to prove they are purchasing alcohol from wholesalers that have registered with the scheme, which is designed to cut the increasing levels of non-duty paid stock entering the UK retail trade.
Government figures estimate that 15per cent of the total UK beer market is now accounted for by "fraudulent sales".
Retailers will have no excuses if caught selling illegal alcohol products
The fraudulent trade in alcohol has been a major problem for many years
In 2014/15, the amount of non-duty paid spirits doubled from 6per cent to 12per cent.
Martin Race, the managing director for Bestway Wholesale, said: "The fraudulent trade in alcohol has been a major problem for many years. The wholesaler sector and our customers have suffered as 'white-van man' and other less-scrupulous 'wholesalers' have flooded the market with bootleg booze. The AWRS will clamp down on this supply and also provide customers with the confidence that they are operating within the legal framework.
The Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme kicks in from 1 April.
"Retailers now have no excuses," said Race.
"They either buy from a registered wholesaler or potentially say bye-bye to their alcohol licence. Other penalties include seizure of stock and massive fines and it's a statement of how far the problem has escalated over the past few years that these severe measures have been introduced."
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Retailers will have to prove they are purchasing alcohol from wholesalers registered with the scheme
All Bestway and Batleys depots are now included in AWRS.
Additionally, posters and point-of-sale material showing the company's AWRS registration numbers will be available in depots and will also be printed on customer invoices to show they are legally compliant.