The phone-hacking affair has probably desensitised most of us to the casual depravity people are capable of in the pursuit of wealth and position.

But few who watched Fake Britain: Bogus Booze (BBC1, 7.30pm, 18 July) could have felt inured to the sight of those men lying on stretchers waiting to die having consumed fake booze.

That they were emaciated was bad enough, but it was the colour of their skin that shocked. It was a vivid Simpsons-esque yellow as were their eyes. And the fact these victims were Russian provided no easy relief. As the deaths of five people at a suspected illegal vodka factory in Lincolnshire a week or so ago demonstrated, counterfeit booze is a UK problem, too.

We've had exposés illustrating how brazen the criminals involved are, but this documentary shed real light on the sheer scale of their operations. Tipped off about a lock-up near Scarborough, trading standards officers discovered an entire illegal vodka factory capable of producing an eye-watering eight bottles of Smirnoff, Glen's, you name it every 10 seconds.

But just as the newspapers aren't the only culpable parties in the phone-hacking scandal, so the fakers aren't the only ones implicated in the bogus booze industry. Too many retailers in receipt of fake alcohol are turning a blind eye to its dodgy provenance or deliberately buying it to undercut honest rivals.

And they're not just buying fake vodka. A shipping container of Mexican brand Corona Extra raised suspicion because it had come from China and indeed the alcohol was fake, although the bottles were not. Then there was the cheap sparkling wine masquerading as Bollinger, the lack of an embossed label giving it away as much as the taste. But the premium rip-off I found most disturbing was the 'Pouilly-Fuissé', thanks to the retailer involved.

I couldn't believe how blasé Tesco was when a customer contacted it to say the bottles he'd bought were fake. A wine expert confirmed it was probably a cheap sweet German wine. Tesco, however, was in complete denial, first blaming the wine distributor and then claiming only nine bottles had been on sale.

Hardly a helpful attitude in the fight against the fakers.

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