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WSTA launches counter-fraud measure

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has launched a counter-fraud measure that seeks to address the estimated £1.3bn worth of alcohol related fraud in the UK. The new website, which is now live at www.wstafraudreport.co.uk, allows alcohol producers, distributers and retailers to report suspected fraud through a simple online map. It will allow the WSTA to pass on information about fraud to the authorities confidentially and protects the identity of the person submitting the information. This will help the authorities to identify fraud hot spots and trends.

To make the resource a success the WSTA is calling on all members of the trade to work together by reporting any fraudulent activity as soon as they are aware of it. Types of fraud that is anticipated to be reported includes failure to pay duty and counterfeit or illicit alcohol.

Miles Beale, WSTA CEO says: “Alcohol fraud in the UK damages businesses and consumers and deprives the Treasury of around £1.3bn annually in lost revenue. Yet too often information about incidents of fraud, particularly retail fraud, is insufficient or too fragmented for the authorities to use.

“The WSTA takes this issue very seriously because it affects legitimate businesses whose existence is threatened by fraud. This is why we are further enhancing our counter-fraud measures with this bespoke website. It will allow the WSTA to pass on information about fraud to the authorities confidentially and protecting the identity of the person submitting it.

“We are urging all members of the trade to come forward to report any fraudulent activity so that together we can better identify alcohol related fraud where it occurs - and to call for a swift response.”

Tax gap information is collected by HMRC and includes an estimated £340m in wine fraud, £260m in spirit fraud and £700m in beer fraud. The full tax gap analysis is available via this link.

The WSTA is the voice of the wine and spirit industry in the UK, representing over 340 companies producing, importing and selling wines and spirits

9 February 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor