New figures show that there has been a significant increase in UK enforcement activity against counterfeit alcohol, with 12 seizures taking place in 2014/15 compared to one seizure of spirits in 2013/14.
A pre-Christmas crackdown resulted in the seizure of more than 1,800 litres of illegal wine and more than 600 litres of spirits and “unidentified” alcohol, as well as the closure of an illegal factory in Heanor, Derbyshire, that made ‘vodka’ from windscreen wash.
The clamp down on fake alcohol came as part of Operation OPSON, which is jointly run by Interpol and Europol. It began in 2011 to tackle the criminal production and sale of counterfeit ‘protected food name’ products, such as Gorgonzola and Champagne.
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."