Taxman loses as wine pours over Channel

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The amount of wine and spirits pouring in to Britain via cross- Channel shopping has risen dramatically over the past year, confirming a growing trend that the avoidance of paying UK excise on alcohol is becoming a way of life.

According to figures released by the Wine and Spirits Association yesterday, more than a quarter of all wine drunk in this country is bought in Calais, with one in eight bottles of spirits consumed being purchased by cross- border shoppers.

The figures represent a loss of pounds 145.36 in excise and VAT for the Treasury for every car coming from Calais with a total shortfall, excluding beer and the Channel Tunnel, of pounds 573.1m. Charlie Bain