A GROUP of 17 British teens were taken to hospital after drinking suspected bootleg booze containing deadly chemical methanol.

The boys, who are all 17 and 18, claim to have fallen ill after visiting a string of bars in Greek party island Zante’s Laganas resort — despite some of them having just THREE drinks.

Each year tens of thousands of revellers from the UK go to the same strip of nightspots — which Greek cops vowed to clamp down on after young Brit Hannah Powell was blinded there by a cocktail laced with methanol two years ago.

This week a Sun on Sunday investigation found POSITIVE traces of the highly toxic form of alcohol — normally used to make antifreeze — in bootleg vodka sold in one of the town’s bars.

Cole Brunton, 18, who was one of 17 out of a party 20 to spend the night in hospital, said: “It was going to be the best week of our lives but it nearly ended terribly.

“I can’t put into words how angry I feel that someone is prepared to put lives at risk to make a few quid.

"It’s inhuman. I know 100 per cent that we got ill because we were poisoned.

“I didn’t drink that much that night. Some of the lads had spirits, some went for cocktails.

“We were all out until different times. Some were back at the hotel by midnight, I got back in the early hours.

“But I woke up at about 3am with hot and cold sweats.

“I was sick in the toilet in my room. My room-mate had already been sick.

“I stepped out of the bedroom into the corridor and looked left and right. Everyone else was there, too, all being sick.

“Our vomit was red and black. One of the lads was in bed and started having a fit, shaking uncontrollably.

“When I got to the hospital I was still being sick. They put me straight on a drip but I was still vomiting.

“I think the doctors knew it was methanol poisoning. The doctor told me we had all been very lucky.

“To know that the Sun on Sunday’s investigation has found traces of methanol in drinks is terrifying.”

The lads — former pupils from a school in Northumberland — left for their £550 Club 18-30 break with holiday firm Thomas Cook on July 19.

Cole said: “We flew out to Zante to celebrate leaving school.

“On the first night we went to a bar that was near our hotel. It was offering a deal — ten euros and you can drink whatever you want free for an hour. Lots of bars in Laganas offer that.

“There were no problems on the first night. Nobody got ill.”

But it was the next day that their holiday went horribly wrong.

Cole said: “The Friday night we did the same thing. Everyone was drinking different stuff. I had six vodkas, some of the lads had beer, a few had cocktails.”

The group then went to three other bars — but after the third one some of the boys started to feel ill.

Cole said: “Some of the lads went back to the hotel as they felt a bit rough. One was sick on the way home.

He only had three drinks. I stayed out but didn’t have any more to drink. I got back to the hotel at midnight.”

But at 3am Cole woke, feeling ill, and saw his friends also being sick.

He said: “A hotel receptionist called an ambulance and the first group of us were taken to a hospital, which was about a ten-minute walk from the hotel.

"A second ambulance took a while to arrive so some of the lads walked to the hospital.

“The rest got in the second ambulance. We were taken to two different hospitals.

“I ended up in the Iassis Medical Centre on the main strip in Laganas.

“I told the doctor I had an excruciating stomach pain. He just topped up my drip with something and it knocked me out.

“I was one of the worst affected, but I was also one of the first taken off a drip and allowed out.

“I’m not sure what time it was. The lads all got back to the hotel at different times as they were released. The last one got back at about 4pm on that Saturday.”

They spent the rest of their stay recovering at their hotel before flying home just days later.

In 2016 Hannah Powell was initially told by a doctor in Laganas that she had a tummy bug — when in reality she had unwittingly drunk methanol.

Cole said: “I had read about Hannah. But you just think, it won’t happen to us. We are all sensible lads.”

Cole’s mother Michelle Twizell, 49, said: “It’s horrendous to think that someone could have killed our boys.”

We carried out our own probe on booze in the resort. One drink — tested twice — yielded a positive for methanol.

There are more than 100 bars and clubs in Laganas now.

It has become Zante’s main nightspot and competition for business is fierce.

Bars in the town sell shots for two euros and branded beer such as Corona for three euros.

Generic bottles of vodka costing two euros, with Greek labels, did not test positive for methanol.

Reacting to our findings, Cole said: “It’s horrific to think that methanol could still be being served in Laganas’ bars.

“We hoped we were one-off victims, but it appears that’s not the case.

“This week more people could be drinking methanol out there every night.”

Athanasios Chronopoulos, operations manager at the Iassis Medical Centre,, said he could not comment on specific cases.

He added: “We have run blood tests on patients but I don’t know if there is a specific test that can confirm whether they have methanol in their system.”

There is currently no formal advice from the Foreign Office warning Brits about drinking on Zante.

GP’s receptionist Hannah Powell, 22, from North Ormesby, Teesside, was horrified to hear what had happened to the lads — and how similar their horrific experience had been to hers.

In August 2016, she had eight vodka and orange cocktails on a bar crawl on the same strip the boys went to.

She and her friends called it a night at 3am — but 36 hours later she was fighting for her life at the same hospital some of the Northumberland lads went to.

Greek police believed criminal gangs from Albania and Bulgaria supplied the vodka laced with methanol.

Hannah is now registered blind.

She came off a dialysis machine after mum Christine donated one of her kidneys.

Reacting to Cole’s account of his ordeal, Hannah said: “It’s appalling. Young Brits still seem to be at risk out there.

“It appears to me that if you go drinking in Laganas you’re playing Russian roulette.

“My whole life is now completely different and no one has been brought to justice.

“The Greek authorities seem to be ignoring the whole problem.”