Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
P&O caught out by wine fraud
Some of the fake labels seized by Spanish police
Fake bottles of Rioja wine have been withdrawn from sale on P&O ferries after the company discovered it had been unwittingly selling it for two years.
A British supermarket chain has also been selling the fake wine for two years.
P&O spokesman Chris Laming said: "We are very concerned that this situation has arisen."
But the company had received no complaints from customers.
Spanish police estimate that one million bottles of fake Rioja were exported into the UK.
"It wasn't bad wine, but it certainly wasn't Rioja," said a spokesman for the Spanish police.
Investigations began when genuine exporters became suspicious that the wine was being sold at an impossibly low price early this year.
When police raided the cellar they found 300,000 counterfeit labels, the spokesman said.
British police have seized 30,000 bottles of the wine over the past two weeks, he added.
Three Spaniards and one Briton have been charged with fraud after being detained for questioning in Spain.