A STASH of fake Russian vodka has been seized from a bootlegger in Widnes.

Four one litre bottles of Kommissar vodka and 74 bottles of Red Crowne Imperial vodka were taken in a Christmas crackdown by trading standards officers.

Around 40,000 cigarettes, 30kg of hand rolling tobacco and 76 litres of vodka, all believed to be counterfeit, were found in homes across Widnes and Warrington.

Officers fear some of the vodka may already have been distributed and could contain harmful chemicals.

The Widnes resident is believed to be supplying in the local area.

In August, counterfeit Kommissar vodka left a Preston resident sick and light headed.

Tests revealed it was fake.

The vodka seized in Widnes has been sent for analysis.

A spokesman for Warrington and Halton Trading Standards said: “Kommissar Vodka is a genuine brand supplied by Nisa.

“The genuine bottles have a lot code printed on the metal ring attached to the sealed lid of the bottle. The counterfeit one did not have any lot coding.

“The duty stamp number A50000000420 found on the counterfeit bottle does not fluoresce and can also be found on bottles of Kirov vodka.

“The duty stamp does not fluoresce as it should on any of the bottles and the bottle and cap on both brands are identical which is unusual for differently branded products.”

Residents are advised to contact trading standards on 01925 442466 if they come across any suspicious alcohol.

Clr Stef Nelson, board member for consumer protection, said: "Trading Standards will not know the true extent of the bottles' contents until after the analysis has been undertaken and that may take a little time. “ Anyone with information about the sale of illegal alcohol can call crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.