In the last two years the amount of fake alcohol being seized by police has risen fivefold as criminal gangs begin to target the demand for cheap alcohol. The rising amount of counterfeit alcohol on the street is one of the suggested reasons why the amount of fake electronic goods and clothing on the market is falling.
Unfortunately, there is no current system for sharing intelligence between the health authorities and the police who are responsible for identifying fake alcohol. This counterfeit product can often pose a serious health risk to those who are drinking it which can lead to injury, or in some cases death.
This research has recently been published in the Institution of Engineering and Technology who obtained the relevant data by using Freedom of information requests. A particular time of concern was the New Year, when the sale of counterfeit vodka increased significantly.
Various bottles that were seized by police turned out to have a large amount of methanol in it, a chemical that is used to create antifreeze which can cause blindness and other health problems.
An industrial unit in Boston in Lincolnshire last year exploded when the process for distilling alcohol went wrong. The explosion killed five people who were involved in the operation. During the same time as the amount of fake alcohol on the street increased, there were dramatic reductions in the number of fake clothing and other luxury goods entering the market.
It is estimated that the global trade in counterfeit electronic goods is worth around £100 billion. Many of these goods are manufactured in Asia, often in China, and then smuggled into the UK where they are sold. These products are not just poor quality, but they can also be hazardous to consumers as they do not have to pass safety checks.