Revenue seizes €460,000 worth of alcohol in search of counterfeit vodka plant in Louth

Alcohol with a potential retail value of €460,000 has been seized in a search of a large-scale plant in Co Louth, writes Cillian Sherlock.

Revenue officers assisted by the Garda Armed Support Unit carried out the search of the farm buildings under warrant and discovered what they described as a large-scale plant set up to process denatured industrial alcohol.

Denatured alcohol is alcohol to which a substance has been added that makes the mixture unfit for human consumption.

Revenue officers seized 586 litres of finished vodka-type product that was bottled, sealed, labelled and boxed.

In addition, 4,000 litres of the raw alcohol product, which had the potential to produce 12,000 litres of the vodka-type spirit, was also seized.

Revenue seized all the production line apparatus including containers, a mixing tank, counterfeit packaging, bottle caps and labels.

A forklift truck and cash amounts of €5,000 and £1,000 GBP were also seized.

Revenue said the potential retail value of the alcohol is approximately €460,000, representing a potential loss to the Exchequer of approximately €300,000.

A man was interviewed and investigations are ongoing with a view to prosecution.

Following the find, Revenue issued a statement reminding consumers that may be tempted to purchase cheap alcohol, tobacco or other consumer goods from an irregular source of supply that there is "a high possibility that they are buying counterfeit goods".

"Publicans and consumers should only purchase alcohol from reputable sources of supply. Vodka is the most commonly counterfeited alcohol and often contains high quantities of methanol, a poisonous chemical that can cause breathing difficulties, liver damage or blindness; and isopropyl alcohol, a chemical solvent commonly found in nail varnish remover," it said.

The recent seizure is part of Revenue's ongoing operations targeting the supply and sale of illegal and counterfeit alcohol in the shadow economy.

Revenue said businesses or members of the public that have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illegal or counterfeit alcohol can contact Revenue in confidence on freephone number 1800 295 295.

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