Drastic rise in seizures of counterfeit alcohol

UK trading standard authorities have reported that seizures of counterfeit alcohol have rocketed over the last five years, statistics suggest that international crime gangs are fuelling consumer demand for cheap alcohol.For example in April this year the authorities at Dover seized 33,640 empty bottles with fake branding of a well known vodka brand. The lorry load came in from Latvia, where the bottles were reported to have been manufacred.

It has further been reported that 73% of all investigations by the trading standards authorities are now related to alcohol, in particular imitations that are packaged to resemble popular brands but are sold at a much cheaper prices. The imitation alcohol is said to carry a risk of blindness or even death due to the industrial solvents contained in the fake spirits.

An intellectual property summit aimed at strengthening cooperation between law enforcement and food and drug agencies shall discuss the findings tomorrow in London, the summit that will be attended by 300 representative from 30 different countries aims to put procedures in place that will crack down on the counterfeit activity that not only causes damage to legitimate businesses but also poses a major risk to public health.

The summit also plans to raise awareness of the sophisticated crime networks responsible for the influx of the counterfeit goods, the dominant message being that intellectual property crime is not just carried out by ‘del boy’ characters but organised criminal gangs working globally and generating serious money.

The head of the UK IPO’s intelligence hub commented

“in terms of the health risk to the public, the threat of fake spirits undoubtedly causes me the greatest concern. The extremely high levels of alcohol content can lead to long-lasting damage and even death”

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