Nearly 2,500 litres of fake wine and spirits were seized as part of a pre-Christmas enforcement campaign, it has been revealed.
UK Trading Standards, working with international enforcement agencies, also closed down an illegal distillery that would have posed a threat to public safety.
The crackdown on fake alcohol came as part of an international campaign, Operation OPSON, involving more than 50 countries, organised by Interpol and Europol.
The results from UK enforcement activity include:
• seizure of more than 1,800 litres of illegal wine;
• seizure of more than 600 litres of spirits and ‘unidentified’ alcohol;
• closure of illegal factory making ‘vodka’ from windscreen wash;
• a significant increase in UK activity, from one seizure of spirits in 2013/14 to 12 seizures in 2014/15.
In the case of the illegal vodka factory, the product contained high levels of iso-propanol, which in other countries has caused multiple deaths and blindness.
Minister for intellectual property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said: “The UK is committed to cracking down on crime that harms proper businesses and can pose a real threat to public safety. Even though we have one of the safest food industries in the world, there are still criminals who want to profit at the expense and safety of others.
“This year’s Operation OPSON results show the continued strength of the UK’s enforcement regime, led by Trading Standards and coordinated by the Intellectual Property Office, in protecting consumers and businesses.”