Beer bootleggers foiled at Felixstowe, 41,000 bottles seized

Black market bootleggers have been left crying in their beer today after 41,000 bottles of Beck's were seized at Felixstowe docks.

FELIXSTOWE: Black market bootleggers have been left crying in their beer today after 41,000 bottles of Beck's were seized at the docks.

Now UK Border Agency officers will pour away more than 13,600 litres of the racketeers' lager, which was discovered after it arrived from Holland.

It is believed those behind the scam were attempting to take advantage of the thriving market in the run up to Christmas and the New Year.

Senior officers from the UKBA think the brew was destined for the black market and would have been sold at knock-down prices to pubs, clubs and shops prepared to take the risk of selling it on.

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The seizure was made after 41,472 bottles of Beck's arrived in 72 pallets, containing 24 cases each, on a lorry from Rotterdam.

The 13,686 litres of illegal alcohol will need to be disposed of because no excise duty has been paid on it.

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The tax on the consignment, which came in on Sunday, would have been more than �14,000.

The cargo was said to have been bound for a warehouse in Shooters Hill in south east London.

Jim Jarvie, deputy regional director central region of the UKBA, said: “The consignment was lacking key documentation, leading us to believe that it was destined for the black market at a cost to the taxpayer of more than �14,000 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

“Everyone is on the look out for bargains in the run up to Christmas. However, anyone who made the mistake of buying these goods would have been undermining legitimate local businesses while supporting a smuggling trade who don't care who they sell their products to.”

No arrests have been made as yet, but officers said investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.

In an unrelated matter UKBA officers yesterday seized 72 drums of hog casings - which are used to put sausages in - due to a technical issue.

Although it was not illegal to import the 20 tonnes of casings from China, the consignment was incorrectly labelled and had been moved without the permission of the Port Health Authority.

The UK Border Agency believes this was as a result of an administrative error on the part of the importer and not a criminal matter.

The hog casings have now been re-exported.

Do you know of bootleggers selling illegal goods? If so write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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