Monday, October 12, 1998 Published at 02:10 GMT 03:10 UK
Duty-free smuggling at a glance
In May 1997 - before the World Cup - 10,000 vans crossed the Channel
The amount of beer coming across the channel each day equals the weekly
sales of 1,000 British pubs.
In 1997 it was estimated that the tax man had been cheated out of £23m of duty in eight months after a gang of six men were arrested
The average British pub landlord is estimated to lose £3,225 in beer sales to bootlegging every year
When the European Single Market came into effect in 1993 it was wrongly assumed that the other EU countries would adopt similar duty rates.
Ellis Martin was sentenced to six years and 10 months imprisonment in 1996 after he smuggled nearly 9,000,000 cans of extra strong lager
Martin masterminded the biggest cross-Channel smuggling operation which cost the Inland Revenue £5m
In the run up to this summer's World Cup 10,000 vans crossed the Channel in May - the highest number since the introduction of the single market in 1993
In a pre-Christmas crackdown in 1996, 500 customs officers raided 100 business and homes throughout the UK in connection with an alleged multi-million pound fraud and made 40 arrests.
Siezed in the past year by Customs and Excise:
- £35.56m of drugs in southern England
- £2.6m revenue worth of alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes
- 47 vehicles involved in revenue smuggling
- 487 seizures of indecent or obscene material, firearms and ammunition, endangered species and other restricted or prohibited items
- Also identified were 62 cases of VAT avoidance were involving a potential revenue loss of £9.5 million
Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©