Ahead of last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, British consumers have been warned not to buy counterfeit vodka that may contain harmful chemicals.

Trading Standards officers recently seized 166 bottles of fake vodka from three shops in Luton. Samples from these bottles were found to contain dangerously high levels of isopropanol, commonly used as an industrial solvent, and butanol which is used in paint remover, Off Licence News reported.

In a separate raid in Derbyshire, officers found an illegal factory with 20,000 empty bottles, filling equipment and empty cans of anti-freeze.

“Commonly used substitutes for ethanol include chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and automobile screen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in anti-freeze and some fuels,” explained Drinkaware’s chief medical advisor Professor Paul Wallace.

“These other types of alcohol can produce similar effects to ethanol in terms of making you feel tipsy. But they are also potentially very dangerous,” he warned.

Councillor Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for public health at Luton Borough Council, told Off Licence News: “Drinking these chemicals could cause serious illness or even death in extreme cases.

“Many unsuspecting consumers may think they are buying cheap duty-free alcohol, when they are actually buying fake and dangerous products.”

Some of the bottles seized in recent raids had labels that said “botteled” rather than “bottled” and others were found to have fake duty-paid labels.