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Friday, December 10, 2004


Illicit alcohol 'piped into EU'

Residents of rural Lithuania appear to have found an ingenious way to get round sharply rising alcohol prices.

Border guards have unearthed a 3km pipeline used for smuggling liquor from neighbouring Belarus where it can be purchased much more cheaply.

A guards' spokesman said it was the fourth such pipeline to be found but this one was of record length.

Correspondents say price increases which followed Lithuania's EU accession in May prompted a rise in smuggling.

Moonshine from Belarus is commonly found on the Baltic nation's black market.

There has been no news of any arrests in connection with the find, and it is not clear how the alcohol was pumped through the pipe.

The thin pipe ran just a few centimetres beneath the ground, under several roads and a riverbed, and ended next to a Lithuanian's private home in the village of Eisiskiai.

Border guards' spokesman Giedrius Misutis said nine metric tons of smuggled alcohol had been seized this year.

Sometimes the ingenuity of criminals is something to behold. I thought I was crafty in college by running the tap hose through a bogus electrical socket to get around the "dry dorm building" policy. I should have studied plumbing.
(BBC News World Edition)

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