Raids on six Boston stores uncovers counterfeit vodka containing cleaner fluid

RAIDS on six stores in Boston which uncovered the sale of counterfeit vodka containing cleaner fluid has led to action.

International Foods, in Bridge Street, has now had its alcohol premise licence revoked following the joint operation between Lincolnshire Trading Standards, Lincolnshire Police and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Boston Deli, in Skirbeck Road, has had its alcohol premise licence suspended for three months.

Boston Borough Council’s Licensing Committee decided on the action on Thursday, following an application from Trading Standards.

Stuart Crookshank, assistant director for HMRC, said: “This is not an innocent or victimless crime but one that encourages otherwise honest people to trade with criminals.

“The gangs behind this form of criminality reap huge profits which are ploughed straight back into the criminal underworld, feeding activities like drug dealing and fraud.”

The results of forensic tests found the seized vodka to contain ‘Isopropyl’ alcohol, widely used as a solvent and cleaning fluid.

It was deemed unsafe and not fit for human consumption and failed to meet food safety requirements.

Sgt Jock Watt, from Lincolnshire Police’s licensing team, said: “These decisions send out a clear signal that operating in this way will not be tolerated in Boston, or indeed across Lincolnshire.

“We hope that other premises who may have been tempted to sell smuggled or counterfeit goods from their venues will see this as a deterrent.”

He added: “We will continue to work with Trading Standards and HMRC in targeting those premises that continue to operate illegally.”

The cases of the remaining four Boston premises, raided earlier ths year, are due to be presented in July.

Both premises have 21 days to appeal the decisions.

l If you suspect someone is selling counterfeit alcohol call the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.