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Norway-Sweden beer smuggling hits record levels

Norway-Sweden beer smuggling hits record levels

OSLO: Norwegian customs officers at the Svinesund border between Sweden and Norway have seized more beer and spirits during the first half of 2017 than in the whole of last year.

Unroadworthy vehicles used for smuggling purposes have also been seized, according to a report by Press.

“There has clearly been a trend in the first half of the year towards a quite large increase in the confiscation of both beer and spirits,” Per Kristian Grandahl, head of the Svinesund customs office, told the Swedish radio broadcaster.

Two bridges – the Old and New Svinesund bridges – span the Iddefjord, connecting Sweden’s Bohuslän province with the Norwegian county of Østfold.

The crossing is popular with Norwegians, with many thousands crossing each month to buy relatively cheap goods on the Swedish side.

Over 140,000 litres of beer and 20,000 litres of spirits were confiscated by Norwegian customs at Svinesund from January to July this year.

The figures represent a 40 percent increase in confiscations of beer and twice as much seized spirits as during the corresponding period last year.

Grandahl said that his customs unit had “surely never confiscated so much beer before”.

Organised crime might be one reason behind the apparent spike in smuggling, according to Grandahl.

“It is expensive to buy [alcohol] in shops and organised criminals import beer and spirits on a large scale,” he told Press.