All wholesalers need licences to trade and to get a licence they must have strict processes in place that shows they have done everything possible to make sure the alcohol they buy has had the UK duty paid on it.

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Autumn Statement 2013 the introduction of a scheme to tackle alcohol duty fraud. The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) is now expected to be introduced in legislation in the Finance Bill 2015.

Alcohol duty fraud costs UK taxpayers an estimated £1 billion each year.

The new AWRS is intended to make the wholesale of illicit alcohol much more difficult and reduce the opportunity for its sale through to legitimate retailers. There are around 20,000 alcohol wholesalers in the UK and HMRC will begin to accept applications for registration for the scheme from October 2015.

All alcohol wholesalers will need to demonstrate they are ‘fit and proper’ and have their supply chains tested to make sure they are legitimate before being approved to operate in the sector, and entered onto a register.”