More than 68 thousand litres of alcohol and three lorries have been seized in an operation to crackdown on excise fraud and smuggling in the Port of Dover.

During this operation, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers worked with Border Force and the French Customs authorities to identify vehicles carrying non-duty-paid alcohol from Calais to Dover, in order to disrupt the illicit supply of alcohol to the UK by organised criminal gangs.

Richard Las, HMRC’s deputy director, criminal investigation, said: “Alcohol fraud costs taxpayers £1.3bn in lost revenue each year. It is not a victimless crime, it breeds criminality, as well as undermining honest, legitimate traders.

“Anyone we catch during this operation can expect to feel the full force of our powers, which can include seizure of their goods and vehicles, financial penalties, arrest and potentially a criminal record.

“We work closely with other partner agencies to help us identify, target and disrupt these organised criminal gangs smuggling alcohol into the country.”

Paul Morgan, Border Force Regional Director said: “Border Force plays a key part in international efforts to tackle the global illicit trade in alcohol, working closely with HMRC and other agencies both in the UK and overseas.

“Border Force officers carry out intelligence-led anti-smuggling checks supported by the use of high-tech equipment to detect alcohol that smugglers attempt to bring into the country. Vast amounts of alcohol are seized at the border every month but this is just one part of a complex picture.”

Three vehicles were also seized, which had been found carrying the alcohol – the alcohol and vehicles will be disposed of using the normal procedures.