Warning over fake booze sales

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OFF-licence owners have been warned about the dangers of selling fake alcohol and cigarettes after a rise in seizures.

Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards has written to all 2,500 licensed premises across the county warning they face prosecution if found selling illegal products.

The council is also warning consumers of the serious health risks of buying cut-price products illegally produced and not subject to regulations.

Councillor Kevin Parkinson said: “We’ve seen a marked rise in counterfeit products on sale across the county – including vodka, wine and cigarettes. They are often produced by criminal gangs with no regard for health regulations and can pose a serious risk.

“Consumers need to be aware. If spirits are being sold at unusually-low prices, at retail outlets or places such as boot fairs, out of the back of vehicles or in car parks, they are likely to be counterfeit and can be dangerous.

In October, trading standards officers took part in Operation Flintstone, inspecting 25 premises selling alcohol.

Suspect alcohol was seized from three premises. Investigations into two seizures are ongoing.

The third resulted in Fawad Karim, of West Bars Convenience Store, Chesterfield, losing his licence after stocking vodka not produced at a legitimate distillery and being found to be in possession of 7,000 cigarettes which did not have UK duty paid.