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Illegal vodka factory found in Cheetham Hill

25,000 litres of fake booze seized by HMRC

Published on November 8th 2010.


Illegal vodka factory found in Cheetham Hill

An illegal alcohol bottling plant and 25,000 litres of counterfeit vodka have been seized by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in Cheetham Hill.

Fire crews attending a suspicious blaze at a warehouse on Honey Street on 28 October uncovered the illicit alcohol factory and called in other enforcement agencies. HMRC and local trading standards attended to investigate the excise duty scam.

HMRC officers seized around 25,000 litres of counterfeit alcohol, some of which was bottled and ready for sale, along with a substantial amount of bottling and labelling equipment. The estimated duty evasion is over £240,000.

Graham Forbes, HMRC special investigations said: “The fraudsters behind this crime have not only evaded duty and produced fake ‘UK excise duty paid’ stamps, but the vodka has been manufactured illegally, hi-jacking a well-known brand name and without any health and safety checks. It seems that alcohol was being handled and bottled at this site in very large quantities and in unhygienic conditions.

“Tests will be carried out by HMRC to check the alcohol content, but early indications suggest the premises may have been operating for some time and selling the fake product locally which is a real concern.”

David Bolt, chief executive of the International Federation of Spirits Producers Ltd, an industry-funded anti-counterfeiting body, said: “Counterfeiters are opportunist criminals, who are out to cheat consumers and legitimate producers, and deprive the government of valuable tax revenue.”

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AvoNovember 8th 2010.

Judging by the silver writing on the bottle top, it look's like it was bootleg Glen's vodka they were knocking out. That stuff is dodgy enough in it's original guise.

Simon Binns - News EditorNovember 8th 2010.

The pic is generic knock-off booze - the brand name being ripped of was never actually revealed.

Eagle eyes though Arvo - or can you recognise the bottle top from 100 paces?

AVONovember 8th 2010.

Ahhh right. My parents have owned an off licence since I was 10 year old so my recognition of bottles comes a second nature.

emmawhitefieldNovember 9th 2010.

Ahhhhh - that explains my shocking behaviour on recent nights out in town - I must have been sold dodgy knock off vodka....in fact I have my suspicions that there may also be an illegal jaegarbomb factory operating in the local area!

Dave JavoueNovember 9th 2010.

Wasn't there a similar story a year or so ago - is it the same place? There was something in the MEN about an Asian bloke who was a scientist or something like that, and he'd been making the stuff in Cheetham Hill...

This surely reaffirms Cheetham Hill's status as the knock off / fraud capital of the UK.

DescartesNovember 9th 2010.

Counterfeiters eh, this kind of news always makes me wonder how Aldi get away with their particular brand of copycat goods.

Ah yes, these guys probably didn't pay tax ;)

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