Calling ‘time’ on drinks fraud

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A new initiative to stamp out fraud in the drinks trade has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The UK Duty Stamps Scheme will require the industry to apply duty stamps to bottles of spirits of 30 per cent abv or more, contained in bottles of 35cl or above, which are for sale in the UK.

HMRC and industry representatives have worked closely on implementation of duty stamps and it is now vital that anyone who produces, stores or supplies spirits is fully prepared for 1st October 2006 when all qualifying bottles released into the UK market must be stamped.

The HRMC says that: “Businesses should be considering now whether they need to be registered, and if so, they should apply immediately in order to give themselves a chance of being ready in time.”

John Healey, HM treasury financial secretary, said: “Alcohol fraud is at an unacceptable level in the UK and that is why the government has taken steps to tackle the problem. The UK Duty Stamps Scheme is central to the government’s strategy to tackle alcohol fraud and I believe its introduction is a positive and significant move to combat those criminal organizations that undermine legitimate business.”

Healy added: “I urge those businesses that will require duty stamps to register for the scheme without delay.”

For further details or to register, visit

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