I continue to get feedback from retailers regarding the upcoming case of the shopkeeper charged with selling counterfeit vodka - which has devastated him as he insists he buys only from reputable sources. I also had an answer from Smirnoff, which forwarded comments from the International Federation of Spirits Producers UK (IFSP). Its central message was 'buy from reputable sources'. Smirnoff unfortunately couldn't answer my main queries: How can you spot a counterfeit? How much counterfeit is out there? How often are cash and carries implicated? (According to the IFSP, white van man is the main culprit.)
Then I had a call from Ken Patel, national spokesperson for the Retailers Against Smuggling organisation. "The counterfeiting of alcohol and cigarettes, as a package, is worth about £15m a day," he says. He adds: "Absolutely, counterfeit vodka reaches the cash and carries. The paperwork is just so good."
Ken has agreed to contact our retailer, whose case has been adjourned until January 31.