Fake wine which closely mimicked a well-known brand has been seized from 20 shops in Hull.
More than 300 counterfeit bottles of a popular brand with a retail value of around £2,500 were found in a series of visits by Hull City Council’s Trading Standards Team
The shops selling the illicit bottles have received warning letters explaining they had breached the Trade Marks Act and would be monitored to ensure the offences were not repeated.
Chris Wilson, City Trading Standards Officer at Hull City Council, said: “It would have been very difficult to tell the counterfeit wine and the legitimate product apart on sight, and it was being sold for the same price.
“Tests have been carried out and thankfully, the counterfeit wine was not found to be harmful. We know this is not always the case; fake alcohol can be extremely dangerous, causing anything from nausea to blindness.
“There’s no way to know what is in fake alcohol or how it has been made. It is not licensed or regulated and could contain harmful chemicals, as we have seen with national cases involving vodka.
“We will closely monitor the retailers involved and welcome any information from the public on alcohol they believe could be a fake”.
Cllr Gwen Lunn, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said: “Fortunately on this occasion this wine was not found to be dangerous, however those who bought it were tricked out of goods they had paid for and believed they were getting.
“The priority for our Trading Standards Team is always public safety and identifying fake goods which could put people at risk is a vital part of their work.
“Anyone who believes they know of counterfeit alcohol being sold should report it anonymously as soon as possible. In a worst case scenario it can be deadly. If these dodgy goods are also cheaper than the real thing, then they could also attract children, young people and those who may be more vulnerable or at-risk”.
Anonymously report counterfeit wine or other alcohol to Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline, 0808 223 1133. Any information will be passed directly to local Trading Standards teams.