HM Revenue & Customs: Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme.

Hmm. I joined HMCE in 1994 shortly after the borders came down for the purposes of excise goods (among others) and I became a “booze and fags” specialist.

In 1997 I was the case lawyer with responsibility for the prosecution of John Victor Hayward (R v Hayward (1998) The Times 1998 in relation to diversion of goods from Bond and contravention of The Excise Goods (Holding, Movement, Warehousing & REDs) Regs 1992. Co-incidently, Hayward was one of the first convictions in absence post HRA.

Mr Hayward and cohorts were some of the first to exploit the deficiencies in the Bonded Warehouse system. Those deficiencies were highlighted in neon by 1997 (in truth by 1994 or possibly the day after the borders came down in 1992).

In the last 20 years billions has been lost in excise revenue – HMCE and latterly HMRC has done little more than tinker and attempt to stick sellotape over the vast cracks in the system. This appears to be the latest of the “Strategies” – I was involved in 3 in the 15 years I was with them. Who knows, maybe this one will work.

Of course, the Government could just reduce the duty…