Increase in illegally sold alcohol

Regulatory Services officers at Barnsley Council are concerned at finding increasing amounts of non-duty paid alcohol in pubs and bars in Barnsley. 

Officers carrying out routine food standards inspections have come across illegally sold spirits including Whisky and Gin in recent weeks. The products were removed from the premises for further examination and investigation. Officers believe that some of these spirits may have been brought back from foreign holidays for personal use or gifts, but then sold on illegally. Spirit drinks bought from countries outside Europe present a higher risk to consumers as they will not have been subject to the same safety controls. 

All spirits with a strength of 30% ABV or more and a capacity of 35cl or more on sale in the UK must carry a UK duty stamp.  It is illegal for businesses to knowingly keep any alcohol which has been imported without payment of duty on licensed premises, or if the business cannot show where they purchased the spirits. 

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson, said: “selling non-duty paid alcohol gives businesses an unfair competitive advantage over other similar establishments in the local area, and could indicate that the drink may not be safe. Traders have a responsibility to buy from reputable suppliers, keep records and ensure that the products they buy have the UK duty stamps.”

Customers are being warned to watch out for standard size bottles of spirits which do not have a duty stamp when they purchase alcohol.  This could mean that duty has not been paid or that the drink is counterfeit and could contain hazardous chemicals.  If they see any alcohol on sale (over 35cl and above 30% ABV) they are asked to call Regulatory Services on 01226 773743

Businesses found selling non-duty paid or counterfeit alcohol may face formal action which could include a review of their licence or legal action, which can result in an unlimited fine or imprisonment for up to two years.  Any businesses offered non-duty paid, or counterfeit alcohol is asked to contact Regulatory Services on 01226 773743. 

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