Two brothers, who attempted to dodge £6.4 million in excise duty by selling tax-free wine, beer and spirits intended for export, have been jailed.
Inderjit Singh Mangher and his brother, Amandeep, were caught red-handed after officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seized large quantities of illicit alcohol with counterfeit labels from a shop in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire and from an industrial unit in Flixborough. A covert surveillance operation followed, which led officers to another nearby unit at Trentside Industrial Park. The brothers were arrested at the unit, where large stocks of illicit alcohol were uncovered.
Inderjit Singh Mangher was sentenced to four years in prison and his brother Amandeep Singh Mangher was jailed for 27 months.
Jo Tyler, Assistant Director, Criminal investigation, HMRC said:
This was alcohol duty fraud on a major scale, with huge quantities of wine, beer and spirits intended for export being diverted back into the UK. Our investigators found that the gang had crudely attempted to disguise their illegal activities by covering some of the genuine labels on the back of the bottles of vodka and whiskey with counterfeit ones.
We are committed to protecting public finances from attacks by criminals and will not stand by and let these crooks rip off the law abiding public. Anyone who suspects illegal alcohol is being stored or sold locally can help us by calling the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.
The brothers’ illegal activities started to unravel after HMRC officers seized large quantities of illicit alcohol from a shop and an industrial unit in Scunthorpe. The officers removed wine, beer and bottles of spirit from the shelves of the shop, a back store room and an adjacent double garage. A covert surveillance operation was set up following these seizures, leading officers to a second nearby industrial unit where more large stocks of illicit alcohol were found and seized.
As HMRC officers were at the Trentside unit, a blue and white Mercedes van, driven by Inderjit Singh Mangher, arrived at the premises. This was closely followed by a 7.5 tonne Mercedes lorry driven by Amandeep Singh. In the lorry officers found 2,112 litres of Glen’s vodka on which no duty had been paid.
Published: 25 October 2013
From: HM Revenue & Customs