PARTY-GOERS are being warned to be alert to the dangers of counterfeit alcohol this festive season.
Trading standards chiefs have issued a series of tips of how to spot fake booze in the run-up to the new year festivities, when many people are expected to hold parties in their homes.
And with party-goers purchasing their own alcohol, trading standards officers is concerned they could come into contact with fake booze containing potentially harmful chemicals.
Tell-tale signs of counterfeit alcohol include unfamiliar or unheard of brands, suspect labelling which may not be aligned straight or have spelling mistakes, have different fill levels in bottles of the same brand or contain cloudy-looking liquid.
Over the past two years, more than 2,000 bottles of counterfeit alcohol have been seized from stores across Staffordshire, with the sale of potentially dangerous booze leading to 22 prosecutions.
Earlier this year, trading standards officers swooped on a store in Burton and seized vodka containing t-Butanol, which if drunk can lead to stomach problems, headaches, seizures and heart and respiration problems.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire’s trading standards leader, said: “We would like to remind people about the dangers of counterfeit alcohol over the festive period and to check for tell-tale signs that indicate the product may not be legitimate.
“This is not just about receiving substandard goods – there is a very real public health risk.
“People can be confident that in Staffordshire we have tackled this issue head on with positive results.
“Unfortunately the problem will not completely go away so people need to be vigilant and inform us if they are suspicious of any product.
“We want people to have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and new year while maintaining public awareness about counterfeit and illicit alcohol.”