An illegal distilling and bottling plant set up to produce branded counterfeit spirits and wine has been seized by Trading Standards officers and Merseyside Police in Liverpool.
The business was set up to produce schnapps, brandy, whisky, vodka and wine and had stocks of branded empty bottles including Bells, Jameson, Smirnoff, Glen Moray which were filled up and then sold to customers.
The raid follows the sale of six bottles of illicit vodka to an undercover officer from the city council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit (ATU). Since then the stills and fermentation tanks have all been seized by Trading Standards Officers along with 500 bottles and more than of 200 litres of various spirits and wine from the residential premesis.
Initial analysis reports suggest that the drink produced is not high quality and is clearly not genuine branded product.
Councillor Tim Moore, city council cabinet member, said; “This operation shows how important the work the ATU does in policing the illegal economy, where legal controls simply do not apply. At this time of year, especially, there will be a temptation for people to get what appears to be a bargain but this should be resisted because you do not know what you are buying.
He added: “We do not have the full analysis of the contents of these drinks but, at the very least, they will be inferior to the genuine branded articles and, of course, there could always be health dangers in buying alcohol from unlicensed sources. This sort of illegal operation undermines local legitimate trade and we repeat our advice not to buy any alcohol from anything other than genuine licensed outlets. ”
The householder has been questioned in relation to these offences and a full investigation is in process.