Bottles of illegal alcohol

Festive crackdown on illegal alcohol

Northumberland County Council’s Housing and Public Protection Service has carried out a crackdown on illegal Christmas spirits.  

During a seasonal operation tackling on the sale of illicit spirits, Trading Standards found that over 10% of  premises visited had illegal stock on sale.

Visits to 57 shops and pubs across the county found that six stores were selling illegal booze, resulting in the recovery of 12 bottles of vodka, eight bottles of whisky and ten bottles of wine. The illegal product was only found for sale in shops and no illicit stock was found at any of the pubs. 

Illicit alcohol is often sold shop to shop by itinerant traders out of the back of a van and does not come from reputable wholesalers. Any businesses who have bought goods from these unregulated businesses are encouraged to speak to Trading Standards to discuss the authenticity of the items and whether they are legal to sell. 

Councillor John Riddle, Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Resilience said: “Our Trading Standards Team do what they can to ensure that only safe products are sold in the county. 

“It is clear that some businesses are happy to take a chance and buy goods from these unregulated sources which is fraught with danger as there is no guarantee that the products are safe.”

Philip Soderquest, Head of Housing and Public Protection at the Council, added: “Christmas and New Year is a busy time for the sale of alcohol. Anyone who has bought anything they suspect may not be genuine should contact us immediately. 

“There have been instances where people consuming illicit alcohol have been injured as the alcohol has been found to contain high concentrations of methanol and other industrial products.”
The Council's Trading Standards Service knows which indicators to look for and can contact the owners of the various brands in order to verify if products are legitimate. Any seizure of illicit product may lead to a review of the businesses premises licence to sell alcohol.”

Any resident or business who has any concerns about any alcohol they have bought can contact Trading Standards on 01670 623870 or email
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