Three West Midlands-based men who used industrial alcohol to make fake vodka with the potential of costing the UK taxpayer nearly £500,000 in lost revenue have been jailed.
The illegal alcohol manufacturing and bottling plant in Birmingham city centre was uncovered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, who raided an industrial unit in Brewery Street.
The raid took place six days after five men were killed in an explosion at an illicit vodka distillery in Boston, Lincolnshire on 13 July 2011.
Adrian Farley, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: ‘This was a substantial bottling, production and distribution plant. It was capable of making and distributing large quantities of counterfeit vodka throughout the country, with the potential of costing the UK taxpayer nearly £500,000 in lost revenue.’
HMRC criminal investigators seized over 2,500 litres of counterfeit vodka.
Farley added: ‘The crime gang duped the public into buying what they believed were legitimate goods when in fact the counterfeit vodka could have killed them.’