Festive drinkers in Nottingham are being warned that buying a cheap bottle of booze could leave them with far more than just a hangover.

It comes after the City Council’s trading standards team recently swooped on a city off-licence which was found to be selling counterfeit wine. The bottles of Blossom Hill were confirmed to be fake by Trademark experts and seized.

Counterfeit alcohol has the potential to be extremely dangerous to people’s health. Although not the case in this instance, it can contain methanol which is highly toxic and found in cleaning fluids, screen wash and anti-freeze. As little as 10ml of the chemical can cause permanent blindness and liver problems in extreme circumstances.

Trading standards is offering the following advice to consumers:

• Always buy from reputable outlets – either mainstream shops or retailers that you regularly use and trust;
• Look at the price and don’t be tempted by something that is clearly too cheap;
• Always buy recognised brands;
• Looks for spelling mistakes or poor-quality labelling – this may indicate that it is counterfeit.

Jane Bailey, trading standards manager at Nottingham City Council, said: “We understand that there is a temptation to save money and buy cheap wine for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, but what most people don’t see are the devastating effects counterfeit alcohol can have.

“Low-price counterfeit alcohol might seem like a good deal but aside from the health risks, it also attracts crime and criminals into our neighbourhoods – some of whom are prepared to sell their products to children.”

Councillor Dave Liversidge, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Housing and Voluntary Sector, said: “It is difficult for people in these tough economic times to budget for Christmas, but it is so important that they are not tempted to save a bit of cash by opting for cheap alcohol from a dubious source.

“The potential health risks that you may expose yourself to, or even your friends and family, is simply not worth it and could potentially ruin what should be a special time of the year.”

Trading standards takes a proactive approach to combating the sale and distribution of illicit and counterfeit alcohol and tobacco products throughout the city, working alongside Nottinghamshire Police and acting on local intelligence.

Anyone with information in relation to counterfeit products can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, while people should seek medical advice if they think they might have consumed illegally-produced alcohol. Call 111 for guidance from the NHS.