HMRC assistant director Stuart Crookshanks described last week’s explosion at an illegal vodka distillery in the town as ‘terrible, but not unique to Boston’.
Speaking after a day of licensing hearings on Monday where two traders were banned from selling alcohol, Mr Crookshanks said he believed the issue of counterfeit production was national and not restricted to Boston.
He said: “The events last week are shocking and terrible, but there have been previous incidents where fire services have been called out to distilleries which have caught fire. It is not unique to Boston,”
The assistant director added that he thought the success of the operation to seek out counterfeit products or those which were selling items for which the duty had not been paid showed that illegal alcohol was a big problem in the area, but said once again that it was not an issue which was restricted to Boston alone.
Shops which sell counterfeit products and the units which manufacture the drinks, such as those in Boston, are thought to be part of a larger operation.
Mr Crookshanks said: “It’s rather more sophisticated than just the shops selling alcohol. The shops are the retail outlet for the illegal goods but they are the bottom unit of a long chain. At the top there are organisd criminals making a lot of money.”
HMRC and other agencies involved in uncovering counterfeit goods have been trying to clamp down on these illegal activities for some time and ask that anyone who suspects illicit alcohol production, importing and exporting or is worried that a shop is selling on counterfeit goods contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000,
All calls to this number are free.