Spirit-lovers could suffer from vomiting, permanent blindness, kidney, liver problems or can even die.
And the fake alcohol – brimming with chemicals used in cleaning products and paint solvent – is not just being sold in shops.
The potentially killer booze could be flogged to unwitting Brits in pubs and clubs, experts warned.
“It can kill you”
Councillor Simon Blackburn
Councillor Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “New Year’s Eve is the biggest drinking night of the year but people need to avoid suspiciously cheap, fake alcohol at all costs because it could seriously harm your health, and even kill you.”
Thousands of imitation alcohol bottles have already been seized in the lead up to the biggest night out of the year.
Eight hundred bottles of suspected fake vodka were discovered during raids in Crewe by Cheshire East Council’s trading standards.
And 3,570 litres of beers, wines and spirits – most believed to be counterfeit – were seized from 20 premises by Lincolnshire County Council’s Trading Standards.
The alcohol contained deadly chemicals such as chloroform, which can induce coma, and high levels of methanol, a key ingredient in anti-freeze.
Boozy revellers have been told the devil is in the detail – unfamiliar brand names, crooked labels, spelling mistakes and very low prices “too good to be true” are signs, The Local Government Association (LGA) said.
Pub dwellers and clubbers are advised to smell their drink as the fake spirit will stink like nail varnish.
Cllr Blackburn added: ”Counterfeit alcohol also harms legitimate traders and threatens livelihoods, with the black market trade helping to fund organised criminal gangs.
“Council trading standards teams have been cracking down on businesses selling fake alcohol and rogue sellers should think twice about stocking these dangerous drinks as we will always seek to prosecute irresponsible traders.
“Anyone suspicious about a supplier or who thinks they may have bought an alcoholic drink which may not be legitimate, should contact their local council.”
Sellers face confiscation of their stock, prosecution and being stripped of their licences in the run-up to the busiest night of the year, council trading standards warn.
The fake booze market is thought to cost the UK around £1bn a year.
Retailers selling illegal alcohol could lose their licence, be fined up to £5,000 or be jailed for up to 10 years.
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