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Apr 23,2007
Counterfeit alcohol endangering Scotland
by UPI

EDINBURGH, England - Scottish officials have begun to take notice of the growing criminal trend of using potentially deadly chemicals to make cheap counterfeit alcohol.

With factories reportedly creating thousands of bottles of the dangerous booze each day, the customs department has created an investigative squad to stop the alcohol from reaching national pubs, The Scotsman reported Sunday.

Police suspect British gangs are behind the counterfeiting trend, that is thought to cost the alcohol industry more than $701 million a year globally.

The new customs team already has closed down two factories in Wales and Britain, but officials said such illegal distilleries are quickly replaced in the illicit market.

To aid in the fight, the International Federation of Spirit Producers has created a simple testing method to detect the high methanol levels in the counterfeit alcohol.

The Scotsman said it was those dangerously high methanol levels in bootleg alcohol that killed a 42-year-old woman in 2003 and has prompted nationwide concern recently.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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