CUSTOMS officers supervising the destruction of more than 10,000 illegally imported bottles of beer and wine near Maidstone, Kent, yesterday. The 5,756 litres of alcohol was part of the 149,000-litre haul confiscated by Dover customs since import restrictions were relaxed last year. After being taken to a water treatment site, the bottles were crushed by a mechanical digger. The alcohol was treated before being discharged into the sewers. Bruce Davies, a customs intelligence officer, said: 'Some people would say that it's a tragic waste, and ask if it can be sold off.
'But our business is intercepting bootlegging and drugs. We're not in the business of competing with the retail trade who are hard-pressed enough as it is.' Under rules introduced on 1 January 1993, people can import as much alcohol as they like from the continent for their own consumption. But increasing numbers are illegally importing alcohol to sell.