URGENT warnings are being issued to drinkers after two Mansfield off-licences were caught selling fake vodka containing chemicals used in anti-freeze.
High levels of isopropanol and methanol, which can cause blurred vision and even blindness, were found in the counterfeits following a Nottinghamshire Trading Standards operation.
The isopropanol was discovered in five bottles of ‘Drop’ vodka, which is not a genuine brand.
High levels of methanol were detected in eight bottles of counterfeit vodka, falsely labelled as the genuine Glen’s brand. Methanol often appears in vodka but at low levels.
Eight bottles of Arctic Ice, another illicit brand, were also discovered.
Officers seized the bottles during unannounced visits to the premises as part of an on-going crackdown on illegal wine and spirits.
Trading Standards team leader Sarah Houlton said: “We had some complaints and we got some really good intelligence which proved spot on in both cases.
“If you see someone selling them we want to know about it.
“In the bottles we’ve seized, you’d have to drink a lot of it to make you ill, but because there will be no control in the manufacturing process no two bottles will be the same.”
Officers are not releasing the names of the premises involved while investigations and interviews continue. No cases of ill health have been reported so far in connection with the drinks.
The fake Glen’s was being sold at £7.99, £1.51 more expensive than real bottles officers were able to find in another store.
Experts also issued tips on how to spot fake or non-genuine bottles, including:
l Spelling mistakes on the label.
l Bottles of the same brand looking slightly different.
l Bottles not filled to the same level.
l Labels not straight or of poor quality.
l Smell of nail varnish.
Coun Mick Murphy, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Nottinghamshire County Council said this week: “We are concerned about the growing problem of fake alcohol on sale in Nottinghamshire, especially as in this case, when it presents a potential danger to the public.
“We will continue to track down and come down hard on the minority of unscrupulous retailers who are prepared to put their customers at risk by selling it.
“I would urge anyone who knows where illicit alcohol is on sale to let us know immediately.”
l Anyone who believes they may have drunk the counterfeit product should stop drinking it and seek medical advice.
Those with information about fake alcohol are asked to contact Consumer Direct on 08454040506.