Stella boss Stuart MacFarlane has called on the government to crack down on the growing problem of alcohol duty fraud.

The UK boss of AB InBev said that although he thought HMRC was under-resourced, it should carry out more raids to seize black market goods.

"I don't think the government is doing enough," he said. "The HMRC deprioritises duty fraud for other things it thinks are more important such as people trafficking, drugs and counterfeit product. I'd like to see more raids."

HMRC should change its procedures to make it harder for criminals to illegally claim back duty by claiming it had been exported, when in fact it was being sold illegally in the UK, he added. "They are making it too easy," he said. "The process of drawing back duty can be quicker than getting paid."

The FWD is also heaping pressure on the government to take action against fraud, which some wholesalers claim is slashing their beer and wine sales by more than 10%.

FWD chief executive James Bielby has called on HMRC to seize alcohol being sold at suspiciously cheap prices. Raids this week in Birmingham, which seized 73,000 cans of beer, had been "a direct consequence of the pressure FWD has been putting on HRMC", he added.

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Editor's Comment: Government has more tools in its arsenal than imposing more duty (21 November 2009)