Booze brand plagued by counterfeiters

Real?: John says not.
Real?: John says not.
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JOHN Downing knew the instant he took a sip that his Glen’s vodka was fake.

“It just tasted wrong, really chemically,” he said.

John, of Chancet Wood Drive, Meadowhead, contacted Trading Standards who seized bottles of Glen’s from a Sheffield off-licence.

The booze is being analysed, but it appears John is the latest victim of one of the most counterfeited brands in Britain.

In 2008 the Food Standards Agency reported that 29 local authorities had seized fake Glen’s. It found higher levels of methanol than the genuine product and advised the public not to drink it.

In October 2009 customs officers raided a factory in Leicestershire and seized 10,000 litres of fake Glen’s. More than 35,000 litres of pure alcohol was found at the plant, which was capable of producing 2m litres of vodka a year. A man from Doncaster was among six arrested.

Bogus Glen’s seized in Sheffield this year was found to have white sediment from the dilution of pure alcohol with tap water, according to Craig Fisher of Sheffield Trading Standards. And some had small pieces of plastic floating in the liquid.

A spokesman for Glen’s, made by Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse, a company based Ayrshire, said fake labels were now so good it was virtually impossible to tell from the real thing.

He added: “This is a huge problem for us.”

Alcohol fraud costs the UK around £1bn a year in lost revenue, according to government estimates.