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With illegal sales of wines and spirits costing the UK around £1.2 billion per year, we're asking members of the public to come forward this Christmas with information to help stop the sale of knock-off alcohol.

In partnership with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, we are looking to highlight the dangers of fake alcohol, whether it be counterfeit or illicit, as well as the knock-on impact to local shops that lose revenue as a result of the cheaper, sometimes dangerous, alternatives.

One incident in Manchester saw a local champagne and cocktail bar prosecuted for possession of counterfeit vodka in September this year. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £800, as well as a £175 victim surcharge

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“Imagine if your local shop closed down due to loss of earnings because someone was undercutting them by selling illicit alcohol, or someone you know became ill because of cheap counterfeit booze that had harmful chemicals in it. It then becomes a problem for you." Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager for Crimestoppers. 

What is the impact of illegal alcohol on my community?

Wholesalers that sell alcohol to other businesses have to register for HMRC’s Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme, which aims to stop illegal alcohol, where duty has not been paid, entering the supply chain to retailers – the shops, pubs, restaurants and other outlets that sell to consumers. Retailers will have to buy from approved wholesalers from April 2017.

There are, however, members of the community who try to cheat the system by importing illicit alcohol, before selling it to members of the public, undercutting local businesses in the process.

What are the dangers of 'fake' alcohol?

While illicit alcohol can create financial implications for local shops, there is also the issue of counterfeit products in circulation, where alcohol is produced using dangerous chemicals.

Chemicals sometimes used that are a risk to a consumer’s health can include bleach, methanol, computer screenwash, nail polish remover and anti-freeze, all of which have been found to be in counterfeit alcohol.

The side-effects of bargain booze found with dangerous chemicals in it have seen innocent consumers blacking out, left bed-bound for days, and even having blurred vision and temporary loss of sight.


Help dilute the problem of knock-off alcohol and give information anonymously by
clicking here >>