120 litres of illegal vodka have been seized after raids on shops in Hyde Park.
The authorities were made aware of a number of retailers who had been allegedly selling illegal duty free vodka. An investigation by West Yorkshire Police and Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has now been launched.
HMRC’s Assistant Director for Criminal Investigation, Peter Hollier, told Leeds Student: “Our officers seized around 120 litres of vodka which did not bear the correct duty labels and we are unable to establish whether it is a genuine product or counterfeit.”
Mr Hollier also warned that the illegal booze could pose a serious health risk to students: “It is likely that this product and others like it which are sold at a cut price, had not been through the proper testing process and could even contain chemicals which could cause serious harm.”
All spirits on sale in the UK have to undergo extensive testing to ensure they are safe for consumption and must have the appropriate tax duty applied in order for them to be legally sold.
HMRC offered a number of helpful tips for spotting dodgy drinks like checking to make sure the bottle is properly sealed, has the relevant ‘UK duty paid’ stamp on the bottle and questioning whether the price is too low.
PC Matt Guy, the University’s police officer, added: “We don’t want anyone to get ripped off by dubious characters out to make a quick buck. These people obviously don’t care about what their customers are putting into their bodies, or the law. I hope our communities vote with their feet and don’t buy these dodgy bottles from dodgy dealers.”
This news comes after another recent raid by Trading Standards in which 600 bottles of fake vodka were seized from a Leeds club. An investigation by Leeds Student last year also discovered that a number of retailers in the Hyde Park and Headingley area were selling the counterfeit branded ‘Drop’ vodka.
HMRC urges students to contact their hotline on 0800 59 5000, or to contact PC Matt Guy if they become aware of a retailer or individual selling duty free or potentially counterfeit alcoholic goods.
Author: James Greenhalgh