Top tips to help you spot fake alcohol this Christmas

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Bargain booze may be tempting this Christmas, but Lincolnshire Trading Standards is warning they might not be the genuine article.

Counterfeit spirits and wines can contain toxic chemicals including those found in cleaning fluid, nail varnish remover, petrol and bleach.

Earlier this year, counterfeit Thatcher’s whisky, Glenn’s vodka, Metropolis vodka and Kommissar vodka were seized from shops across the county.

Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, comments: “Although Lincolnshire Trading Standards is proactively seizing counterfeit booze from the shelves of off-licences and shops across the county, we are reminding consumers when buying alcohol this Christmas to stop and think. Is the product genuine?

“And with counterfeiters are getting even more sophisticated -we are warning it is getting harder and hard to spot a genuine from the fake. In the past counterfeit booze was offered to customers cheaper than it’s legitimate counterpart, but we are increasingly finding that counterfeit is now priced the same.”

To avoid being duped, trading standards officers have put together some top tips to help spot a fake bottle of booze:

Spelling mistakes – fake bottles often have incorrectly spelt words and grammatical errors

Poor quality labelling – fake bottles often have misaligned or badly printed labels.

Properly sealed bottle cap – never drink from a bottle without a properly sealed cap.

Duty paid sticker/stamp – spirits in 35cl bottles or larger must have a duty stamp. Some fake bottles carry counterfeit stickers, or do not have a sticker at all.

Fake barcodes – fake bottles often have fake barcodes. If in doubt, there are apps that can check a barcode’s authenticity.

Sediment – fake vodka often has ‘sediment’ that you can see in the liquid – pure vodka should always be clear.

Andy adds: “If consumed, this counterfeit alcohol can seriously affect your health. The criminals selling this lethal chemical cocktail don’t care about your health – all they want to do is make a profit!

“With this in mind, If you suspect counterfeit goods are being sold, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Consumer Advice Helpline 0345 040 506.”