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»There were more seizures of counterfeit alcohol in Havering last year than in any other local authority in the country, according to a survey.

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Trading standards officers in the borough carried out 22 raids of fake alcoholic goods in 2011, a massive increase from just four in 2010 and three in 2009.

Research by Engineering and Technology Magazine revealed the figures last week, as part of a comparison of more than 80 local authorities in the UK.

Imitation

Overall, the magazine found that seizures by trading standards teams across the country of counterfeit goods including alcohol and tobacco have soared over the past three years.

Havering’s figures were boosted by a crackdown last March in which almost a quarter of independent off-licences in the borough were found to be selling counterfeit wine.

Council officers found 340 bottles of wine labelled as Jacob’s Creek in 19 different off-licences at the time.

The labels on the fake bottles all had the same spelling mistake – the makers of the fake wine printed “South Eastern Austrlia” instead of South Eastern Australia’ – missing out an ‘a’.

It was a poor quality wine, but was not dangerous.

Two off-licences were fined for selling the wine in February of this year.

Havering Council’s cabinet member for housing and public protection, Cllr Lesley Kelly, welcomed the statistic and said: “We will continue to crackdown on counterfeit goods of any type.

“We don’t want consumers to be ripped off by buying inferior alcohol at an inflated price and we don’t want responsible retailers to suffer either.”

The council carried out three seizures of fake cigarettes and five of counterfeit clothing in 2011.

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