Twenty bottles branded with an Admiral label were seized from a storage unit in the town. Police officers confiscated similarly labelled bottles from a group of young people in Tamworth last week.
The product was analysed at Staffordshire County Council’s laboratory where the potentially hazardous levels of methanol were found. Consumption of methanol can cause vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision and in extreme cases blindness.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team fears more bottles may be in circulation and is urging anyone who sees the product on sale to contact it on 0300 111 8000 or the Fight the Fakes hotline on 01785 330356. The county council has been carrying out an ongoing operation to combat counterfeit alcohol sales in Staffordshire over the last three years.
It has received funding from the Food Standards Agency as a result of its success which has seen 21 prosecutions and licence reviews. The largest fine handed out was £10,000.
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Community Safety, Cllr Mark Sutton, said, “We have been seen great success in our operation to stamp out counterfeit alcohol sales in Staffordshire over the last three years but we must continue to be vigilant. This product was seized from a storage unit and has reached young people in Tamworth, which is a real concern to us.
“Counterfeit alcohol is extremely harmful and so we are asking anyone who spots this product to contact us. It is a county council priority to ensure that Staffordshire is a place where people can live safely and removing an illicit product and making people aware of its dangers will help us to achieve this.”
Cllr Sutton added that telltale signs of counterfeit alcohol include: • Unfamiliar or unheard of brands • Suspect labelling which may not be aligned straight or have spelling mistakes • Different fill levels in bottles of the same brand • Sediment in the liquid which should not be present