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Council watchdogs launch fresh crackdown on illegal booze in Newham

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 October 2012

A  bottle seized by officers recently

A bottle seized by officers recently

Archant

Trading Standards officers have launched a new crackdown on illegal booze.

The renewed drive comes shortly after the last crackdown earlier this year, when 250 bottles of fake booze were seized from a Stratford off-licence.

That haul – a record for Newham’s Trading Standards – included five bottles of potentially dangerous vodka. Tests revealed some of this vodka contained isopropanol - a product often used in cleaning fluids, anti-freeze and as a solvent. Others contained tertiary-Butanol, a product used to make alcohol suitable for industrial use.

The full-sized bottles, labelled ‘Drop’ and ‘Roca’ vodka, were selling for £6.99 – less than half what they would retail for if they were legal.

It is believed the bottles were made in illegal factories in Eastern Europe and smuggled across the channel.

Newham Council’s Ian Corbett, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Environment, said: “Crime and anti social behaviour in any form is totally unacceptable and make no mistake this is crime. We simply won’t stand for it.

“This illegal alcohol is a risk to people’s health and it has not been properly produced. Anyone who is suspicious should contact our officers immediately.

“The criminals behind this scam also rip off the tax payer by not paying duty.”

Counterfeit alcohol tends to be rebottled wine - where cheaper wine is poured into a more expensive bottle. Fake alcohol is often made in illegal factories in the UK as well as abroad. Alcohol fraud costs the UK around £1bn a year in lost revenue, according to government estimates.

Shoppers are being advised to watch out for tell tale signs of illegality:

Spelling mistakes on the label

Bottles of the same product look different

Bottles not filled to same level

Label not straight

If you spot any of these items, call Consumer Direct on 01622 626520 or www.consumerdirect.gov.uk


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