Two leading trade associations have joined forces in a significant step forward in combating the illicit alcohol trade in Scotland.

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) and Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) are working closely with HMRC’s Illicit Alcohol Task Force to create a single point of contact for retailers and wholesalers’ with concerns about suspected criminal activity.

Announcing the news at the SWA’s annual conference, president Asim Sarwar (pictured) said: “This is one of the big issues on which we will make better progress through collaboration, so we’re delighted to announce that we have taken a significant step forward in combating illicit alcohol trade in Scotland.

“Creating a single email point of contact for the convenience store and wholesale industries in Scotland will ensure that concerns will be forwarded to the Task Force, and be prioritised appropriately. This is major progress for our industry.”

The SGF’s chief executive, John Drummond, said: “Illicit trade impacts on our members’ businesses and is often underpinned by serious and organised crime. Good information and closer-working with the trade is what enforcement agencies need most if they are to combat this criminal activity.”

The move builds on the successful Scottish Parliamentary reception organised jointly by the organisations in January 2014.