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WSTA crackdown on fake booze

General | 28 May, 2018

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association have joined forces with Crimestoppers in a crackdown on criminals pedaling fake booze.

Today marks the launch of a new video explaining how to report and bring to justice the modern-day moonshiners whose hooky hooch can threaten people’s lives.

The aim is to make the public aware of fake alcohol and the effects it can have on consumers’ health as well as highlighting how fakers put lives as risk with dodgy alcohol factories.

The WSTA and Crimestoppers have teamed up to provide a dedicated alcohol fraud line for use by members of the public they can also report online, if they have bought illegal booze or suspect it is being sold. Call 0800 234 6388, or go to 100% anonymously. Always. Speak up. Stay Safe.

Information can be given anonymously and will help the authorities crack down on the criminals who are selling fake booze, often to fund serious organised crime including drugs and people trafficking.

Producers of fake products are not just cheating the system – their alcohol can contain a cocktail of dangerously toxic chemicals.

The side effects from illicit or counterfeit alcohol can leave drinkers bed bound for days, suffering black outs, blurred vision and even short-term sight loss.

So far reports to the alcohol fraud line have uncovered a number of independent stores selling alcohol under the counter without a licence, smugglers bring alcohol and drugs into the UK, criminals pedaling fake alcohol brands, brothels trading booze without a licence and fake booze being sold in social clubs.

Some fake booze has been found to contain a cocktail of anti-freeze, nail varnish remover, cleaning fluid and industrial spirits, amongst other things.

These toxic products are significantly cheaper than ethanol and can increase the strength of the drink, but are a serious danger to health.

The problem is significant, as shown by the HMRC seizing 50 million litres of illicit alcohol in the UK.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs the UK is estimated to lose out on £1.2 billion per tax year due to illicit alcohol.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:

“The sale of illicit alcohol puts lives at risk and allows criminals to profit while costing the UK over £1 billion each year according to HMRC. Working with Crimestoppers the Wine and Spirit Trade Association is determined to help clean up the black market for counterfeit alcohol and to spread the word we have put together a new video explaining how to spot fake booze. Although most alcohol retailers are legitimate we urge the public not to take a risk to save a few quid – and to report anything they suspect is fake alcohol to the Crimestoppers alcohol fraud line.”

If you have any information, please contact The Alcohol Fraud Line 100% anonymously on 0800 234 6388 or through the non-traceable Anonymous online form at

The Alcohol Fraud video is available to view here: –

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