20,000 Fake Booze Bottles Found In Derbyshire

12 December 2014, 17:10 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Capital's been told an organised crime gang's thought to be on the loose in Derbyshire - after 20,000 fake vodka bottles were found in Heanor - along with a load of antifreeze.

The building was empty during the recent raid - so noone's been caught.

Residents are now being warned of drinking illegal fake vodka containing antifreeze which could cause serious health issues and even blindness following the discovery.

The county council raided an industrial unit in the town on Wednesday (December 10) in a joint operation with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) following a tip off from a member of the public.

Approximately 20,000 unauthorised 'Smirnoff' red brand labelled 70cl bottles were found ready for filling.

Hundreds of empty five-litre antifreeze containers, were also discoverd.

Capital’s been told altogether the stuff that was seized is worth an estimated £280,000 if sold legitimately just under the recommended retail price.

It is not known at this stage of the investigation whether or not the finished product might have been distributed.

Man-made chemicals such as antifreeze can cause sore throats, breathing difficulties, dizziness, sickness, blurred vision and even blindness when consumed.

Steve Alan, trading standards manager at Derbyshire County Council said: “The fact that we found several hundred empty antifreeze containers, anyone who potentially consumes what we believe has been bubbled here is effectively going to be drinking car screen wash.

“You can get sore throats, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and sickness. It’s been reported on many occasions previously when this sort of stuff’s been found it can lead to blurred vision and blindness which in some cases can last for months.”

Anyone who thinks they may have purchased the product should look out for:

  • Unusually low price (average £15 recommended retail price for Smirnoff red label 70cl)


  •  Misaligned, crooked or creased labels and branding


  • An unfamiliar or bad taste or aftertaste


  • A strong or overpowering smell


A spokesperson for Smirnoff's parent company Diageo said: "At Smirnoff, the protection of our consumers and the reputation of all our brands is of paramount importance to us.


"As such, we work closely to assist all enforcement bodies including trading standards, the police and HMRC as we recognise the important and valuable role they have in protecting consumers."

  • Anyone who is concerned about the taste or packaging of any Smirnoff product can call the Diageo consumer care helpline on 0845 6014558.


  • Consumers and retailers are urged to be on their guard for anyone attempting to sell them cut price alcohol and should report any concerns Derbyshire County Council's trading standards team on 01629 536166.


  • Alternatively, residents can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Consumer Direct on 03454 04 05 06.