Looking back... Ballyclare poteen haul was the largest in Northern Ireland

The biggest haul of illegal poteen made in Northern Ireland was uncovered on a Ballyclare farm in June 1982.

It was located by a Customs and Excise Investigations Unit.

The officers, who had been acting on information received, raided the facility, which was in the process of producing 1,000 gallons of the illegal alcohol.

A large quantity of pure spirits was found in an underground store, ready for distribution. And a large quantity of fermented wash, a key part of the manufacturing process, was also discovered during the operation.

The drink had been coloured to resemble whisky and poured into bottles.

Customs and Excise was said to have been “delighted” with the haul and had been investigating the case for several months.

Equipment for the production of poteen was also seized.

A report in the Newtownabbey Times indicated that pure poteen sold for about £3 a bottle. Approximately six bottles could be filled from one gallon.

The report also stated that the period leading up to the Twelfth holiday and Christmas were “traditionally the most active for illegal distillers”.