Fake vodka found to contain anti-freeze

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A warning has been issued about fake vodka containing anti-freeze which may be circulating in the region.

It comes after the discovery of a large-scale bottling plant in Heanor.

Tests revealed that the fake vodka contained anti-freeze, which can cause serious health problems, including blindness, if swallowed.

Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards team raided an industrial unit in a joint operation with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs following a tip off from a member of the public.

Officers found evidence of illegal vodka production using unauthorised ‘Smirnoff’ red brand labels on 70cl bottles.

They discovered hundreds of empty five-litre anti-freeze containers, equipment for filling bottles and 20,000 empty bottles ready for filling – worth an estimated £280,000 if sold legitimately just under the recommended retail price.

It is not known whether any of the fake vodka was distributed before the bottling plant was found.

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Dave Allen, said: “The presence of these chemicals could mean there is a real and serious health risk to anyone if they’ve purchased or consumed the product.

“We would advise anyone who thinks they may have drunk illegal vodka to seek medical advice and to let us know immediately where they bought it from.

“Not only can buying alcohol from unknown sources pose a very real risk to public safety the proceeds from these sales may be linked to organised crime.

“Illegally produced alcohol is often sold at a much cheaper price than legitimate brands and can seem like a good deal but it is not worth the risk.”

A probe is underway.