HM Revenue and Customs are to clamp down on stores suspected of selling counterfeit alcohol with a series of raids across the UK.

The operation has been rolled out nationwide after a successful pilot scheme which targeted stores in Peterborough, Newcastle, Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire led to 16 outlets having their alcohol or cigarette licence revoked.

The sale of counterfeit alcohol and other smuggled alcohol is currently estimated to cost the UK £1bn in lost revenue every year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers should only purchase alcohol from a reputable source, and if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Retailers are just as liable for selling duty fraud or counterfeit product as those who are producing it or organising its distribution. Ignorance is no defence under the law.”

Any retailers unsure of their supply of alcohol can contact ACS for advice, or if you have any information about suppliers that are selling counterfeit goods, contact the Customs hotline on 0800 595000.