Booze seized in shop raid

Teens drinking alcohol at a party.
Teens drinking alcohol at a party.

MORE than 400 bottles of illicit liquor - some of which could have contained poisonous chemicals - have been seized from a Wigan off-licence.

Following a raid on the store - which is not being identified but is in a suburb on the outskirts of Wigan town centre - officers from the council’s Trading Standards recovered six bottles of Smirnoff which was thought to be counterfeit.

The alcohol is currently being subjected to laboratory analysis, but previous fake vodka has been found to contain industrial chemicals which can cause serious injury and considered unsafe to drink.

More than 470 bottles and cans of lager believed to be non-UK labelled and therefore suspected of being smuggled into the country avoiding duty were also uncovered.

So too were 45 packs of foreign cigarettes and tobacco - some of which were suspected to be fake - which were allegedly being sold from under the counter.

The value of the goods seized is estimated to be in the region of £1,000.

Trading Standards says it is continuing its investigations, but a spokesman added that the shop cannot be named as it will identify the defendant.

Coun Kevin Anderson, the local authority’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “The sale of illegal and fake goods of any type will not be tolerated.

“The black market harms our local neighbourhoods in a number of ways, by fuelling criminal activity, threatening livelihoods, putting legitimate retailers out of business – not to mention the health risks.

“We are grateful for the valuable leads we receive from local residents and urge people to come forward with information of any suspicious activity.”

If anyone suspects somebody of selling illegal or counterfeit goods, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Anyone who wishes to report illegal alcohol or tobacco to Trading Standards in confidence can ring 01942 827476 or e-mail ts@wigan.gov.uk. They can also ring Crimestoppers 0800 555111.