Health warnings issued after haul of deadly vodka is seized

PUBLISHED: 12:35 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 September 2010

By Robyn Rosen WARNINGS have been issued after more than 1,000 bottles of counterfeit vodka were seized in Hornsey. The fake spirit, labelled with high street brands such as Glens and Imperial, contains dangerous levels of methanol which can cause blindne

By Robyn Rosen

WARNINGS have been issued after more than 1,000 bottles of counterfeit vodka were seized in Hornsey.

The fake spirit, labelled with high street brands such as Glens and Imperial, contains dangerous levels of methanol which can cause blindness.

Council officers led an operation to carry out raids on suppliers earlier this month.

Warehouses on the Cranford Way industrial estate off Tottenham Lane were searched and 1,100 bottles of the dangerous liquid were found. Five lorry loads of alcohol were also seized as well as documents and computers.

Two men were arrested at the scene and have been released on bail pending further enquires.

The investigation began after government watchdog the Food Standards Agency discovered that the fake Vodka had been distributed across the country from the warehouse.

Cllr Nilgun Canver, Haringey's head of enforcement and safer communities, said: "It's worrying that this vodka is on the streets at all when it can cause serious illness.

"As soon as the Food Standards Agency alerted us to this problem we took immediate action as this vodka is very dangerous."

The £250,000 multi-agency operation follows warnings last month to Haringey's supermarkets and residents to be wary of Spar-brand Imperial vodka on sale in 70cl bottles.

Andrew Thornton, owner of the Budgens shop in Crouch End, said: "The fact that there is dangerous alcohol out there is a real concern. It's good that the council has stopped it but there is a lot of counterfeit stuff around.

"All of our vodka comes through reputable channels. We don't buy it from vans through the back door. We are incredibly strict about what we sell but it's very serious if alcohol out there is contaminated."

Sarah Appleby, head of enforcement at the Food Standards Agency, said: "Haringey Council's investigation is still on-going and we are continuing to warn the public and other local authorities to be on the lookout for this potentially dangerous counterfeit vodka."

Lib Dem councillor for Hornsey, Monica Whyte, added: "We are very pleased it's not going out into our community now. It's shocking and concerning that this sort of activity is going on. If members of the community become aware of issues like this, they should contact the council to investigate further.

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