Fake booze seizures on the rise

Since April this year, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police have seized nearly 700 bottles of illegal alcohol, in comparison to just ten in the previous year.
Since April this year, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police have seized nearly 700 bottles of illegal alcohol, in comparison to just ten in the previous year.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards officers have cracked down on illegal alcohol as seizures in the county rise dramatically.

Since April this year, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police have seized more than 1,000 bottles of illegal alcohol, in comparison to just ten in the previous year.

The rise follows a fall in seizures in the past few years after the high profile discovery of an illegal vodka distillery in Boston back in July 2011.

Now Trading Standards want to make sure that the dangers of illegal alcohol are back at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, Daniel Brown, said: “Whilst many of the 1,000 bottles were seized for non-payment of duty, others that were seized were potentially very dangerous, containing industrial alcohol which is unfit for human consumption and can even cause death.

“Trading Standards spend a lot of time out in shops around the county but we need the public to continue to help us, to stay on their guard and report anything suspicious.

“Spotting illegal alcohol can be very difficult, but there are a few tell-tale signs that can help.

“A retail price that is too low is one obvious thing to look out for, but also look at things like how the labels have been cut and stuck to the bottle, or whether the fill levels of the bottles are the same.”

Sgt Kimble Enderby of Lincolnshire Police added: “Together we can make sure that retailers don’t get away with selling illegal and potentially dangerous alcohol.”

Top ten telltale signs that booze is fake:

1: Spelling mistakes – Trading Standards have found names like Vodker and Pino Grigo.

2: Wonky labels – labels are often skew-whiff on fakes.

3: Broken seal – don’t buy; it could have been tampered with even if it isn’t illegal.

4: Inconsistent fill level compared to similar bottles.

5: Fake brand names – check names on Google.

6: Sediment or white particles – these should not be present in spirits like vodka.

7: Is there a proper UK duty paid sticker?

8:If the price is too good it’s probably a fake.

9: Check barcodes – download an app on your phone to do this.

10: Buy from a reputable store – Trading Standards say counterfeiters often sell to independent shops.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of people involved in the sale of illegal alcohol can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0333 259 2971.