Newham Council sends £75k worth of illegal alcohol for destruction

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 March 2016

Cllr Ian Corbett with some of the confiscated alcohol

Cllr Ian Corbett with some of the confiscated alcohol

Monika Szolle

Bootleg booze has been a problem in Newham in recent years, prompting the council’s licensing team to consfiscate more than 10 tonnes of alcohol from shops and restaurants.

Now the drink – worth an estimated £75,000 – has been sent for destruction.

The haul, which came from shops selling alcohol without a licence or in breach of their licence as well as restaurants selling wines and spirits without having paid the correct duty, has all been seized by the team.

It was kept in the council’s evidence room to be used in court, with officers requesting destruction after the conclusion of the cases.

The licensing team’s investigations has secured £9,000 of fines against off-licences and restaurants who have repeatedly breached their licence conditions.

Two managers have also had their personal alcohol licences revoked and eight have accepted police cautions.

Cllr Ian Corbett, mayoral advisor for environment and leisure, and chairman of the licensing sub-committee, said: “Breaching licensing conditions, selling counterfeit booze and not paying alcohol duty are not victimless crimes.

“Off-licences selling super strength or fake booze can often be the source of anti-social or even violent behaviour either on our streets or behind closed doors. They also pose a huge health risk to those drinking it.

“These irresponsible shops put people at unnecessary risk which is why the council imposes strict limits on the strength of alcohol that can be sold in the borough.

“And those dodging taxes are putting unnecessary additional strain on the country as it means there is less money to fund vital services like the NHS, schooling and emergency services.”

The haul included crates of well-known brands of beers, as well as counterfeit spirits, wine and illicit home brew.

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