Pub landlords fined £3k for selling fake spirits

A couple who sold fake Smirnoff and Glens vodka from their Berwick pub have been fined more than £3,000 following a routine sweep of their pub by Trading Standards Officers.

Husband and wife David and Sharon Purvis had been selling the fake spirits at the Black and Gold pub in Shieldfield Park, Tweedmouth.

Suspicions were raised following a visit by Trading Standards Officers in August 2017, who found a number of bottles of Smirnoff and Glens Vodka which were below the advertised ABV strength stated on the bottles.

It was later determined that the spirits were made from industrial alcohol rather than agricultural. At the lowest level they contained 5.7% less alcohol by volume than declared.

The court was told a member of staff had accepted the bottles of vodka from a relative who had them as unwanted gifts.

The couple pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 at Berwick Magistrates court.

David Purvis was given a fine of £440 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £44. Sharon Purvis was fined £150 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30. They were also each ordered to pay legal costs of £250 and investigation costs of £,1274 – a total amount of £3,712.

David Sayer, business compliance and public safety unit manager added: “Legitimate alcohol wholesalers are now required to be approved by HMRC and all retailers should only buy alcohol from them.

“You really don’t know what you are getting if you are buying from any other unknown source. Our officers inspect business premises regularly and an investigation will be conducted if a business is found to be supplying any type of illicit alcohol like the vodka found in this case.”

One Response to “Pub landlords fined £3k for selling fake spirits”

  1. Our organization continues to receive credible and verified tips similar to this case. This Pub is not an outlier. Many more investigations are ongoing and tips continue to come in thanks to consumers and in many cases current/past workers. Enforcement needs to be supported with greater financial resources. Consumers need to be made aware since they are the best line of detection and defense.

    Illicit alcohol in addition to harming public health is profiting criminals while penalizing brands and true owners/retailers.

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