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Campaign cracks down on toxic fake alcohol

23 February 2015

New results announced today reveal that nearly 2,500 litres of fake wine and spirits were seized as part of a pre-Christmas enforcement campaign. 

UK Trading Standards, working with international enforcement agencies, also closed down an illegal distillery that would have posed a real threat to public safety.

The crackdown on fake alcohol came as part of an international campaign, Operation OPSON, involving more than 50 countries, organised by Interpol and Europol. 
The results from UK enforcement activity include:
Seizure of more than 1800 litres of illegal wine
Seizure of more than 600 litres of spirits and 'unidentified' alcohol
Closure of illegal factory making 'vodka' from windscreen wash
A significant increase in UK activity, from one seizure of spirits in 2013/14 to 12 seizures in 2014/15.

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."

Details of the wider OPSON activity against fake and illicit food around the world, and the organised crime networks behind this illegal trade are released today. A final report on OPSON IV will be prepared for circulation within the UK following a debrief session in April 2015. 

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