"DISGRACEFUL INLAND REVENUE DODGERY.
At the Handsworth Police-court, on February 9th, George Lester, a grocer and wine and spirit dealer, 75, Hamstead-road, was summoned at the instance of the Inland Revenue Authorities for selling one dozen bottles of ale on December 19th without having a licence. Mr. J. W. Clulow defended. Thomas Nisbett, an Excise officer, stated that on the date named he called at the defendant's shop, and after purchasing several articles of grocery which he asked to be sent to his house, he asked to be supplied with one dozen bottles of beer. The defendant replied that he
We hope some Member of Parliament will raise this and recent other scandals in the House of Commons by necessary questions to the responsible minister. We confess we would rather see the Inland Revenue suppressing the sale of maddening potato or Indian corn spirit as whisky, or chemical "swipes" as beer, than laying such traps upon honest men's good nature, or bringing vexatious prosecutions like the following :
At Heywood, on February 14th, Mr. J. Birch, chemist, York street, was summoned for selling extract of malt and cod-liver oil, which it was alleged was liable to stamp duty. Mr. Squires, from Somerset House, prosecuted. The defendant was fined.
It would be more creditable to the Department were its chemists to learn snuff analysis, lard analysis, or butter analysis; and the responsible officials who advised Mr. Gladstone to abolish the malt tax that permitted the brewer to make his chemical "swipes" out of road sweepings if he likes, to retire, disgraced and degraded as they are, from injuring their country as public officials, than to put up jobs of this nature upon those who are taxed to support their ignorant existences."
"Food & sanitation, Volume 4", 1894, page 57.
I'm glad that the court sided with the defendent.
I wonder if excise men still get up to this sort of underhand trickery?