Retailers must keep accurate records of all purchases in order to legally sell spirits without the new government duty mark.
From October 1, 2006 all spirits above 30% abv crossing the duty line into the UK retail trade will have to carry a new duty stamp, as part of a crackdown on fraud through unpaid excise duty.
Many in the trade feared there would not be sufficient time for unmarked stock to clear before it was deemed illegal on January 1, 2007. But the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs have now made it clear that all stock purchased without a duty stamp prior to October 1, 2006 can be sold legally providing retailers keep a record of the purchase.