Belfast Telegraph

Fermanagh 'moonshine man' brewed 2,500ltrs of alcohol

A 63-year-old County Fermanagh man, who built a large scale, fully functioning alcohol production plant at his home, has been sentenced for excise fraud.

Patrick Anthony McCaffrey, of Lisnaskea Road was arrested and interviewed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when officers visited his home in June 2016 and­­­ he admitted having a poitín still in a shed at his address.

More than 2,500ltrs of alcohol, half a tonne of sugar, 51kg of yeast, a generator, a home-made pot type still, three copper tanks, and hundreds of empty bottles and bottle caps were removed from the site.

Officers also discovered 250ltrs of blackcurrant, ginger and plum flavouring which was being used to make flavoured poitín.

McCaffrey repaid the full amount of duty evaded on 3 August 2017.

He pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in fraudulent evasion of duty and four combined charges of possession of articles for use in frauds on 8 May 2018 at Dungannon Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, on 6 June 2018 at Dungannon Crown Court.

The total amount of the fraud was £19,372.23.

Steve Tracey, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said consuming the alcohol could have been dangerous.

“McCaffrey was producing large quantities of alcohol illegally. This is dangerous and those consuming unregulated alcohol have no idea exactly what they’re drinking. The production of unregulated alcohol also undermines the legitimate trade and contributes to alcohol fraud which is costing the public purse around £1.3 billion a year - money needed to fund vital public services.

“Anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal alcohol can report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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