The FWD has slammed HMRC for refusing to reveal the details of its raids on alcohol duty fraudsters.

CEO James Bielby wrote to Customs officials on 18 March requesting confirmation of rumours that two small cash & carries had been raided and duty-avoided alcohol seized, but the HMRC said the details were confidential.

"We absolutely appreciate the need for confidentiality, the need to protect an individual's interests and the need not to impact on legal proceedings," said Bielby. "Nevertheless, it would be helpful if as much information as possible was communicated to FWD and the media, since this has the potential not only to reassure FWD members but to act as a clear deterrent to fraudsters."

He said Exchequer Secretary Sarah McCarthy-Fry had recently pledged to give more publicity to the government's efforts to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, Bielby hopes a National Audit Office investigation of how HMRC is dealing with alcohol duty fraud will shed more light on the scale of the problem.

"It will put more pressure on HMRC to get to the bottom of this problem, which is of such huge importance to FWD members," he said.