VOD'S YOUR POISON; Dodgy Spirits Sold Door-to-Door by Ice Cream Men and Taxi Drivers

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Byline: By ANDREW WOODCOCK

POISONOUS vodka is being sold from ice-cream vans, MPs have been told.

And Taxi drivers are also selling illegal alcohol door-to-door throughout Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee was also told planned licensing reforms could give gangsters and paramilitaries a chance to launder money.

Nicola Carruthers, chief executive of the Federation of Retail Licensed Trade (FRLT) said vodka - bottled convincingly to look like Smirnoff but which can contain noxious substances - was the drink of choice for bootleggers. She added: "The police told us about factories they have found, manufacturing these counterfeit products, and they are sophisticated operations.

"A lot of it is based in Northern Ireland around the border areas."

She warned potential buyers of counterfeit alcohol that in some cases it was more dangerous than poteen.

She said: "People think they are getting a bargain with bottles of Smirnoff for pounds 5, but it is certainly not Smirnoff they are getting."

Ms Carruthers also voiced concern about mini-cab firms openly advertising "dial-a-drink 24 hours a day" services. …