Sarah Sturdey goes in search of the people producing illegal alcohol and learns of the oftentimes dire consequences for those who consume it.
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Hello, welcome to Inside Out from the Humber Bridge.
This week, we investigate the potentially lethal trade in illegal
alcohol. Five men died in an explosion while producing fake
vodka, but what are the dangers for those drinking this illegal booze?
My vision goes blurred, I have black blotches. Also tonight, the
birth of an icon. We celebrate the start of work on the Humber Bridge
40 years ago. Everybody would be looking a power that. A beautiful
day. The wind was howling through. And, a good listener. The man who
has trekked to the east -- the North Pole and South Pole to record
An explosion which killed five men at an industrial unit in
Lincolnshire put bootleg booze firmly on the map. The men died
where fake vodka was being produced. So, what potentially lethal
concoction could you be drinking? Sarah Sturdey investigates.
Five men have been killed in Boston... How does a lot today?
Police take prevents us from going around the corner...
The explosion revealed the secret world of bootleg booze. Inside the
charred unit, fake vodka was manufactured. It looked just like
this, the genuine article. It opened to public's eyes to this
dangerous Gamp. It is often really hard to tell the difference between
a fake like this, seized at a Leicestershire bit like factory,
and this, the real thing. Drinking the wrong one could prove fatal.
The fake brands disguise a lethal blend of chemicals. They do not
care for anybody, they only care about lining their pockets.
criminal gangs cost the taxpayer �1 billion a year by failing to pay
alcohol duty. Walker is the easiest spirit to copy, you can make it on
a Monday and sell it on a Tuesday - - vodka. But it's the drinkers who
pay the highest price, sometimes with their eyesight. I feel lucky
to be alive, I did not think of would be able to get out of bed
ever again. Hidden in a remote corner of Leicestershire, one
organised gang of bootleggers went undetected until undercover customs
officers finally tracked them down to a rented unit. They were making
fake vodka at a place already known as Moscow Farm. It was a wonderful
feeling to know we had cracked it. He is wearing a beige top and blue
jeans, messing around with the pilots. They are not paying any
attention to us. We are just going nice and steady, and when we have
completed, we will be on our way back. During the raid, 70 customs
officers found a makeshift factory producing illegal vodka on a
massive scale. The unit had the capacity to produce a bottle every
five seconds. There was enough methylated spirit to produce
100,000 bottles of fake vodka. had a stainless-steel tank which
held the finished product, before dropping it on to the bottling line,
and then they have a commercial capping machine, to put the caps on
the bottles. Then it passed down the conveyor belt to a labelling
machine, which starred the labels on. I have visited thousands of
bottling plants, and I have never seen anything like this. It is
horrendous. It could have been a disaster in the making. Ed Binsted
is a spirits industry safety expert. His evidence in the trial of the
convicted bootleggers revealed how a simple spark could ignite alcohol
vapours, triggering a major explosion. This was a time bomb.
Look at what happened at Boston, and these places popping up all
over the place. If anybody had been walking along this footpath, with a
horse or anything, they would have been involved. I come past a few
times a week, and when we found out, it was unbelievable. You cannot
understand how that could go on in a place like this. It is quite
frightening and shocking. The gang of six has been sentenced to a
total of more than 20 years in jail. The mastermind, who was never seen
at Moscow Farm, was Kevin Eddishaw. His right-hand man was John
Humphries. Counterfeit alcohol is now being seized across the country
daily. The chemist was this man, from Poland. The counterfeiters
have done a very good job of forging the bottles and the labels.
The bottles were sourced from the buyer, and the labels were sourced
from Poland. The product look like the real thing. The finished
product was stored near East Bridgford, 5000 litres was seized
in Blackpool. It was found on sale in small independent off-licences
across the country. John Humphrys left the client in the car-park
while he went away to get the vodka from a store nearby. Counterfeit
alcohol is now being seized across the country daily. It's a top
priority for Trading Standards. have seized these from all parts of
the county. These are the products you want to keep out of harm's way,
cleaning fluids, paint strippers, methylated spirits, not something
you would want to be drinking. We are aware that somebody in Scotland
died from drinking counterfeit alcohol. The person running this
off-licence has just been convicted of having four different fake
brands. Mostly containing the chemical used for industrial
cleaning. One contained Paul reform. -- chloroform. Students are on the
lookout for cheap vodka. Lauren Platts from Derbyshire bought what
she now knows to be a bogus brand for �5.99. The man in the off-
licence near her Sheffield digs joked it would blind her. Two
months on, he wasn't far wrong. was throwing up for two days. There
could not get out of bed. -- I could not. On the second day, I
thought, am I ever going to feel better? Could not see very well, my
vision goes blurred, I have black blotches, I lose my peripheral
vision quite a lot. Even cross the road, it can be difficult. It is
really scary. When you cannot see anything, if you are driving, even
walking down the street, trying to cross the road. Casualty
departments are starting to see more patients who think they've
drunk vodka, but it's really industrial alcohol. They are
drinking the same amount of alcohol as normal, but they are getting
more intense symptoms, they think they might have had their drink
spiked. Their symptoms are more severe abdominal pain, staggering,
feeling tortious, intense vomiting, and visual problems, which you do
not see what ordinary alcohol. The methanol attacks the optic nerve,
de-nerved that runs from behind the eye, and if that gets Swarland, it
can cause permanent blindness. at Great Dalby, near Moscow Farm,
the pub landlady is shocked at the ticking time bomb which was on
their doorstep. But can she tell the difference between a fake from
the factory and the real bottle? everything is exactly the same.
you amazed? I am shocked! There's one simple error - the forgers got
the bottle's units wrong. Much of the Moscow Farm fake could still be
out there, along with thousands of other dangerous bogus brands. The
vodka distillers are well aware of the threat the bootleggers pose.
The experience industry has to stay ahead of the bootleggers, not just
to protect their brand, but to protect the public. But it's
customs officers who face the challenge of seeking out these
highly-organised criminals. It is crucial that we find these places
and we dismantle them, so they cannot be used ever again. The UK's
consumption of real vodka has risen considerably over the past ten
years. As drinkers seek out cheap booze, the bootleggers are leaving
a lethal legacy. It is shocking, really, that somebody is sullied
that two people. They do not care. If it is still happening now, the
problems with my fishing, I assume it is here for good, and this is
all from just one might -- problems with my vision.
Coming up, the sound of nature. The man who travels to the ends of the
earth in search of a most As the bridge enters its middle-age,
our reporter has been taking a look. It was the moment many people
thought they'd never see and plenty hoped they wouldn't. Heavy
machinery begins to assemble. newly discovered images of work on
both banks of the Humber capture a unique moment in our history - the
birth and growing pains of one of the most expensive and
controversial civic projects in Modern Britain. The building of the
Humber Bridge. As one of the world's longest suspension bridges,
the Humber Bridge has become one of the region's most photogenic
tourist attractions. But 40 years ago, the landscape both physical
and cultural was completely different. One man determined to
capture this sea change in relations between North and South
bank was amateur filmmaker William Prestell. He spent every spare hour
over a decade painstakingly recording each stage of its
construction. Brady thing he cut the passion for it? He was a man
they liked a challenge. -- Where do you think he got the passion.
don't see many bridges built on your doorstep. He used to get in
contact up with the contractors, especially the project manager, and
he used to ask them to film him when certain things were going on.
Then he would go down there at 8pm with his sandwiches and drinks and
he would stay all day. He just wanted to get the film that he
wanted. That's what he used to do. On 21st February 1977, if five
millimetre diameter of steel rope was laid between the two banks. The
north and south banks of the River Humber were finally linked.
admire him for going down there. The only means of transport and
equipment is by this cable car. Working at this height is extremely
difficult. It is the unique thing, the building of the Humber Bridge.
It is history in the making and is therefore to see in the future.
while watching the bridge take shape was an entertaining hobby for
some, for those who actually built it, it was arguably the hardest job
of their careers. For the men who helped design and build it, even 40
years on, the bridge still provokes bittersweet memories. I have bought
a cake to help celebrate. It must bring back a lot of them is for you.
This occasion does bring back a lot of memories, no doubt about it.
Some good, some bad. The most satisfying day was when the first
box was lifted. People couldn't really seem much progress for many
months, and then suddenly the box was there. The bridge were starting
to take shape. The multi-million pound project became infamous for
slipped deadlines and spiralling costs, and today some of the key
staff are back to lay a few ghosts to rest. What with the unique
problems in building the bridge? There was the weather, inflation
and industrial climate in the country. All these three things
reflected the eventual costs of the structure. There was a time of road
rubble, the three-day week and all the other aspects which influenced
the climate here. Work was hampered by some bitterly cold winters.
was absolutely freezing up there in the wintertime. They had runners
coming up and down the bridge to bring coffee. And the howling North
Sea wind also helped blow things off course. We were completely
exposed. 30 miles per hour, absolute top speed that we could
cope with, you just wouldn't be conscious of it. It was quite a bad
press because everybody would be looking up saying, why are they not
working? Beautiful day, and the wind was just howling. To put
things in reality, a �is not the way to measure the value of the
bridge, it have the benefit for the community. -- a �1 fee. The bridge
meant a new dawn for many. For others, it heralded the end of an
era. Arthur Harvey is thought to be one of the last surviving Humber
Ferry captains. He worked on crossings for 25 years before the
bridge put him and his colleagues out of business. I did miss the
daily contact I had with passengers. You need a lot of people in
different professions. Some of them became good friends of mine. During
this are, we used to do this trip down to Grimsby down -- brims be
dance night. In eight years, it was something about 5 million people.
And amid all those millions of passengers, one truly stood out.
certain lady would not get out of the car, as per instructions. I
went down there and I said, I will not shift Until you get out of that
car. By then, one of our local passengers put pressure on them,
saying, get out! That culminated in our marriage eventually! Today, the
bridge acts as a vital lifeline for thousands of families, who rely on
it for work or it regularly to keep in touch. Annette Hutchinson and
her family from Scunthorpe have a special reason for being able to
get across quickly by car. It is awe-inspiring, when you approach it.
It is very important to keep in touch with family and to access the
east coast. Without the bridge, a family crisis involving her brother,
who lives on the opposite bank in Hull, might have been a whole lot
worse. About two years ago, I had a stroke at work, and it was in
hospital for seven or eight days. With the bridge being open, and it
was able to get over and see me. They came regularly to see that a
was all right. Was it -- it was a relief. It is �6 for a round trip.
Plans which could see that hole cut in half by yet to be resolved.
bridges much more convenient for crossing the Humber. It took a good
bridge to put us out of work. Growing up, you never know what
path your life will take. For one man, he was led to the corners of
the Earth recording the sounds of nature. Wherever you find David
Attenborough in the world, there is a good chance you will find Chris
Watson there as well. To my ears, it is full of sound. It is amazing,
what I heard. The insect life inside this oak tree. I have been
passionate about working with sound for a long time. There are lots of
devices and equipment, such as this, for getting sound on location. What
will really interests me is getting microphones into places where we
wouldn't normally want to put our ears. It sounds great. You really
get that sense of power of the ocean. A lot of my work on Frozen
Planet was to investigate the sounds. The songs of the seals can
be heard over 15 miles away. This beautiful, haunting voice, which
reflected the reality of their lives. There's very little
visibility below the surface so they will deliver the sound. Chris
has been working alongside David Attenborough for 15 years. This is
the most southerly nesting of all penguins. And like the polar bear,
are up in the north, their lives are dependent on the sea life.
arrival in Antarctica, the Frozen Planet crew attracted a welcoming
party. About 200 penguins came out of the sea and ran across to our
helicopter and stood in a group. They set up this semi-circle and
just sat and stared at our helicopters. The wildlife came to
us. It's a career you can trace back to his childhood. My parents
bought my tape-recorder when I was 11. You could see the birds through
the kitchen window, but you couldn't hear them, so I took my
little tape-recorder outside, put the microphone on the bird table.
What I really learned about recording in this way and that you
start to hear the world in quite a new and exciting way. One of the
best ways to do that is to close And what works in your back garden
This is the hugely scaled up version of a garden experiment.
These are vultures in Kenya. Chris was playing with sound in the heady
days of the experimental electronic music scene. He was a founder
member of Sheffield's Cabaret There were three of us and I played
keyboards and tape-recorder, and synthesiser, and so we worked in
the studio creating music and we toured and troubled lot. It was
just great. -- travelled a lot. mix of art and sound still appeals.
He was commissioned by the National Gallery to create a soundtrack to
one of its masterpieces to hold visitors' attention. The average
time people spend in front of one of those great paintings is four
seconds. I went and chose this painting, and it just created the
sound of the few that John Constable had created. -- the view.
In the middle of the 19th century, Suffolk is not placed -- played by
-- plagued by noise pollution. I'm on the Ross Island in Antarctica.
The quietness is almost below the threshold of this equipment. Why
don't been there is any other place on earth as quiet as this, and
there is certainly no noise pollution here. I think the heart
down below, it is interesting to think this sounds they would have
heard were much the same as we can hear today. The sound of silence
above ground enables Chris to record the actual noise of the
planet itself. You really get the sense that this isn't some inert,
silent world. It is heaving with life, literally straining and
groaning to make this ferries slow journey across the rocks into the
sea. -- very slow. The sound is actually inaudible to the human ear,
just as the movement of the glacier is invisible to the eye - but speed
them both up, and they come alive. Nobody is prepared for what happens
next. Three or four enormous or could just surfaced vertically to
breathe, carrying about -- towering above us. They made eye-contact
with us and slid below the surface. Quite been moving moment to get
that proximity to such wild animals. Frozen Planet took more than two
years to film, so the crew inevitably needed lots of stories
to keep each other entertained. Chris has extraordinarily
discriminating ears. For example, he maintains that he can tell the
difference between the sound of waves in the Pacific and waste in
the Atlantic. The factors that we don't know if he is joking or not.
-- the fact is. Like David Attenborough, Chris Watson has been
just about everywhere, and is one of the few people ever to have
stood at both poles. I'm very lucky and privileged to travel the world
making sound recordings, but it is a great leveller and relief and
sense of relaxation for me. Coming home to places like this and
walking out border collie, listening to the sounds that are
If you want to contact us about any of the stories into night's
programme, you count took our -- you can to our face but page. Make
sure you join us for next week's programme. We will be investigating
the threat posed by Peter Biles, police and online grimmest to our
Sarah Sturdey goes on the trail of the people producing illegal alcohol and finds out the sometimes dire consequences for those who drink it.