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Warning of fake booze that can blind.

DRINK that can leave you blind has hit Scotland.

Customs and Excise officers have issued the warning about counterfeit brands of well-known whisky and vodka that are being sold on the black market.

The bottles contain industrial-strength chemicals such as methanol.

The poisonous liquid can cause severe stomach pain, breathing difficulties and, in some cases, blindness and coma.

Customs officers says they are targeting street markets, pubs, clubs and hotels after the booze turned up in Scots cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh.

They are also worried about counterfeit cigarettes which look like normal brands but have higher tar levels and other health-threatening substances.

It is believed the fake goods have been manufactured in China and Eastern Europe - though Customs say some may have been made within the UK.

A Customs and Excise spokesman in Edinburgh said: "At street level, we have seized the odd thousand counterfeit cigarettes and bottles of fake- brand whisky and vodka.

"But it is very worrying and a new trend in Scotland."

He added: "People are being ripped off. They don't know what they are buying just by looking at the bottle or packet of cigarettes.

"They may think it is a well-known brand but it is not and people may end up getting seriously ill."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 27, 2003
Words:210
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