Health warning over cheap booze

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University students in Sheffield are being warned not to buy cheap vodka, after a woman was left partially sighted.

Lauren Platts, aged 21, who is from Chesterfield and studying in Sheffield, claims she spent two days in bed after downing a third of a bottle of the cheap booze, which she bought for £5.99.

Two months later she is still suffering with blurred vision and regularly loses her periphery vision.

When Trading Standards officers examined the drink they discovered it was industrial alcohol.

Lauren said the man in the off-licence where she bought the booze even joked to her: ‘It will blind you’ when he sold it to her.

“I had the worst migraine ever, I was extremely sick, with blurred vision.

“On the second day I wondered whether I’d ever get better,” she said.

“I’ve been sent home from work because of the vision problems.

“It’s really scary. I think I might have it for good, but I’m just grateful to be alive or not completely blind.”

Sheffield University student welfare officer, Matt Denton, said warnings about fake booze had been posted on the Students’ Union website.

“Methanol can attack the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This is what can affect a person’s vision and in some cases make them blind,” he said.

“I’m hearing this is now a nationwide problem and other colleagues in the East Midlands are reporting an increase in patients who don’t realise they’ve consumed industrial alcohol not vodka.”

A spirits industry expert has warned that bootleg factories where the fake vodka is made are a disaster in the making.

Ed Binsted, president of the British Bottlers Institute, said: “These places are like timebombs.

“They are popping up all over the country.

He added: “The industry needs to be one step ahead of the bootleggers - they’re getting better at forging the bottles and labels but the contents are lethal.”