Students returning to university in Sheffield are being urged to beware of the dangers of cheap booze as part of an ongoing crackdown.
Recent raids on off licences selling fake alcoholic drinks have found bottles containing substances including chloroform, an anaesthetic, and toxic chemicals which can send people into a coma or cause blindness.
More than 2,000 bottles of the stuff have been seized in Sheffield over the last five months alone, and action including prosecution has been taken against 15 premises found selling it.
The Spar shop on Richmond Road, Richmond, was stripped of its alcohol licence for selling fake vodka.
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “Counterfeit booze bottles are so convincing it is often hard to tell them apart from the real thing.
“However, there are several key signs that are easy to look for once people know the ‘tricks of the trade’.
“If consumed, this industrial alcohol can cause severe illness, vomiting, nausea, coma and blindness.
“We want to educate people about how to spot this dodgy booze.
“We are giving out detailed information at both universities this week and next, and empowering consumers to make the right choice when buying their booze.”
Sheffield Council said tell-tale signs of fake booze include badly-applied labels, fake tax stamps, misspelt labels, unfamiliar brand names and very cheap prices.
At the same time, Trading Standards officers are visiting every alcohol-selling retailer in the city over the coming weeks, to ensure the illegal stuff is not on their shelves.
The council has not only targeted retailers and student fairs, but will also be sending 10,000 cards to pubs and bars, libraries, cafes and alcohol treatment services to make sure everyone is aware.
■ Anyone with information about illegal booze should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.