Solihull won’t stop persuing sellers to underage young people


As part of our on-going commitment to stop young people in Solihull being exposed to age restricted products such as alcohol or cigarettes Solihull Trading Standards carried out test purchases at four premises across the Borough last night. Two volunteers under the age of 18 helped us by trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol from these shops. 2 premises sold cigarettes or alcohol to young people without verifying their age.

We will continue to reinforce the message that it is totally unacceptable to allow young people to buy certain products. We will do this by education and, if necessary, enforcement action where traders completely ignore the law.

If you think age restricted products are being sold to young people in Solihull please let us know on 03454 04 05 06.


Warning issued over personal breathalyzers


A Scottish Trading Standards authority has revealed worrying discrepancies in the readings delivered by personal breathalyzers.

South Ayrshire Council tested a variety of products freely available on the internet or at retailers. Devices can range from £6 to £70. The disturbing results revealed a range of alcohol concentration from less than half the correct reading to more than double the correct reading.

See the article below for more information:!Council-warns-drivers-to-avoid-personal-breathalysers-as-they-can-be-inaccurate/qrzdl/567975f80cf203da56e857a5

Tell tale signs of counterfeit alcohol


Many of you might be tempted this Christmas to save a few pounds on a bottle of alcohol to help you celebrate. Is it worth it though? The taste certainly won’t be the same (or at all pleasant) and fake alcohol has even been found out to contain chemicals that can cause blindness. Not only are these criminals endangering your health but damaging legitimate businesses and the economy.

A recent crack down on fake alcohol sales in Islington has netted the treasury £460,000. Bogus or smuggled bottles of well-known whisky and vodka brands – such as Smirnoff, Vladivar, Famous Grouse, Teacher’s – and even cheap Italian wine are now much less common in Islington than five years ago.

The article below shows you ways to pick out the fakes from the genuine.

If you think fake alcohol or tobacco is being sold in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

Buying cigarettes or alcohol for someone under 18? You could face a £90 penalty


Did you know you could be faced with a £90 penalty if you buy cigarettes or alcohol for someone under the age of 18? Legislation empowers enforcement agencies to issue a £90 fixed penalty for ‘proxy’ sales. The next time a child asks you to buy age restricted products for them think again…

Would YOU be able to spot fake alcohol?


As the counterfeiters get smarter it can be increasingly difficult to visually differentiate between fake and genuine products. We have had numerous incidents of fake alcohol being sold in Solihull and sometimes even we struggle to identify the rogue bottles.

However appealing the cost of dodgy booze may be, the consequences of actually drinking it can be severe. The fakers are only concerned about making maximum profit and are certainly not losing any sleep over your health. Excessive quantities of ethanol in fake alcohol can lead to blindness.

So, what are the signs to look out for in spotting fake alcohol?

  1. The first tell tale sign is ALWAYS the price. If a deal seems too good to be true it most probably is!
  2. There are often mistakes in the labelling, such as no government information or correct health warnings.
  3. Small spelling mistakes often crop up – the counterfeiters aren’t the best wordsmiths in the world! For example, on a product seized in Solihull the ‘i’ was missing from Ayrshire, Scotland.
  4. Bottles of the same product may look different with small differences in colour, design and tops.
  5. The level of liquid in the bottles may vary as many fake productions are done by hand whereas genuine manufacturers use machines to produce a consistent, exact level.
  6. The label on the bottle may not be completely straight or its position may be subtly varied on different bottles.
  7. The fake product often smells different from genuine alcohol. Fake vodka, for example, can smell of nail varnish.
  8. Many people can immediately tell that the taste of their favourite tipple just isn’t quite right.

If you are suspicious that fake alcohol is being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06

10 ways to spot fake alcohol….


Fake alcohol has been proven to be highly dangerous. Here are 10 ways you can tell the fake from the genuine product:

1 Spelling mistakes – Trading Standards have found names like Vodker and Pino Grigo

2 Wonky labels – labels are often skew-whiff on fakes

3 Broken seal – don’t buy; it could have been tampered with even if it isn’t illegal

4 Inconsistent fill level compared to similar bottles

5 Fake brand names – check names on Google

6 Sediment or white particles – these should not be present in spirits like vodka

7 Is there a proper UK duty paid sticker?

8 If the price is too good it’s probably a fake

9 Check barcodes – download an app on your phone to do this

10 Buy from a reputable store – Trading Standards say counterfeiters often sell to independent shops

(Article from

Shops persist in selling to children


If you have seen our previous posts you will know that Solihull Trading Standards continues to expose shopkeepers who sell alcohol or tobacco to underage volunteers. We carry out regular exercises to root out illegal sales.

Carlisle Trading Standards have recently carried out underage test purchases for alcohol and found that 25% of their pubs and off licenses still continue to sell to children.

See the article here:

We HAVE to stop this. If you think that age restricted products are being sold to youngsters in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

Sniffing out fake Bacardi…


Bracknell Forest Trading Standards, with a lot of help from the guys above, are continuing the fight against illegal and dangerous alcohol with the seizure of 20 bottles of counterfeit Bacardi.

See the article here:

Fake alcohol can cause blindness and liver disease. Is it worth taking the risk to save a few quid?

If you suspect illegal tobacco is being sold in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.


Test purchasing in Solihull continues to reveal sales to underage children

Test purchasing

We have been around the borough today with two underage volunteers attempting to test purchase age restricted products. Two shops, one in the north and the other in the south of the borough, sold alcohol to the children.

The penalties for selling age restricted items to children are severe. We will continue to monitor shops and do all we can to stop these illegal sales from happening.

Please contact us on 03454 04 05 06 if you believe age restricted products are being sold in Solihull.

Our little friends keep on sniffing out the goods!

tobacco dog

Thousands of pounds worth of illegal goods were seized this week in Buckinghamshire as Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs joined forces to disrupt the supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol.

Sniffer dogs Scamp and Phoebe helped locate the illegal stash.

If you have any information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco or alcohol in Solihull please contact us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.