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According to HM Revenue and Customs, illegal imports of beer - beer that has not had UK duty paid on it - amounts to 14% of UK beer volumes. Now I am assuming here that legally imported beer for personal consumption is not included in these figures, but then again can that be so, as including those beers would make the problem much worse? On the other hand then legally imported beer for personal consumption can be sold illegally. Is that what they are saying, or is it some kind of some kind of combination? What do these guesstimates really mean? It's as clear as mud.

The problem with this sort of thing is that when you start to think about it, the whole premise becomes less and less likely. Where does this beer come from? Where does it go? Is it being imported in such quantities when we are told supermarkets are giving it away? It can't be being sold in pubs to any great extent either can it? For such quantities to be true, you'd have to import it by the truck load rather than the (white) van load and surely HMRC and the Immigration Department still check loads, even if it is just for VAT, security and illegal immigrants? It all seems rather far fetched to me.

The Revenue say that the country is losing (in 2009/10) an incredible £800 million in duty due to this. (Spirits which to me is more believable, account for another £440 million). This is up an incredible 40% in one year.

Anyone got any thoughts on this?

Coming on the day after the publication of the Cask Report, this would mean that illegal beer imports exceed total cask beer sales.