News item

Traders warned about fake alcohol

Following a rise in the number of counterfeit  alcohol investigations, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service and West Yorkshire Police are issuing a stark warning to traders to avoid the temptation of buying alcohol from a ‘white van man’.
 
In the past three months West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service have prosecuted one off licence and now have more cases awaiting court.  The defendants in each of the cases had bought counterfeit alcohol from a ‘white van man’ at rock bottom prices and the retailers were unable to provide sufficient information to trace the supplier. 
 
The cheap products that are being sold by unscrupulous suppliers may also cause a health risk to consumers. Tests carried out on Drop Vodka, Activ Vodka and on counterfeit Stolichnaya Vodka have found Chloroform, Isopropanol, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Methyl Iso Butyl and Dichloromethane. Trading Standards have also seized Bulgarian white wine that was illegally labelled as ‘Soave’  and a product illegally described as ‘Sambuca’.
 
There is a legal requirement for all businesses to keep records and invoices of who their suppliers are, both for tax purposes and to assist the authorities to trace the supplier of unsafe or unsatisfactory products. As well as being liable for the supply of an unsafe or misdescribed product, where a trader is unable to provide traceability information they commit additional offences in breach of the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 which could lead to the trader’s premises licence for selling alcohol being revoked.
 
Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service said: “It is vital that traders heed the warnings given by Trading Standards. Both the Police and this Service take a very dim view on this kind of illegal activity. 

"The ‘white van men’ that push these illegal products do not care about the harm that they may be causing to consumers.  They are only bothered about taking businesses hard earned cash by flogging them a cheap and nasty product.”
 
Sergeant Rob Fullilove, Leeds District Licensing said:  “West Yorkshire Police, in conjunction with Trading Standards and other partner agencies, are committed to stamping out this criminal activity. 

"Retailers need to start realising that they are endangering the health of their customers and by selling them products that are not intended for or fit for human consumption they risk severe penalties in the courts and also risk their Premises Licence being revoked. 

"If they are offered stock on the doorstep and the price is too good to be true, then they should suspect all is not as it should be.  By purchasing their alcohol stock from reputable outlets this risk is eliminated.”  
 

For further information please contact David Lodge, Divisional Manager, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service on 0113 393 9704 or email dlodge@wyjs.org.uk