A CORNER shop has been banned from selling alcohol for a week after a record haul of fake vodka and wine was discovered for sale.
Trading Standards officers swooped on Londis News in Lodge Road, Southampton, after a complaint from a customers and discovered 124 counterfeit and non-duty paid bottles of vodka and wine.
Shop owner Minesh Narenda Patel was called before the city council’s licensing sub-committee and faced a three month drink sales ban. But he said he was “conned” and after assuring councillors he had set up new procedures to ensure it did not happen again the licence suspension was reduced to a week.
Trading Standards’ Christine Hill told how she and a colleague visited Mr Patel following a complaint about a bottle of vodka.
They seized 130 suspected bottles.
Only six were genuine alcohol.
Mr Patel claimed that seven vodka bottles in his office which had no UK stamp duty paid had been given to him by friends for his own use, making them legal.
“That still leaves 117 bottles which we determined as counterfeit and that’s a record for what we’ve found in Southampton,”
Mrs Hill said.
Among the haul were 35 Jacobs Creek wine bottles with tell-tale mis-spellings of Australia.
A total of 45 of the complained about Arctic Ice vodka bottles were discovered. The brand was found to be a made-up name. The substance inside had an “unpleasant odour”.
Mrs Hill said: “Vodkas are more of a health issue. They are made in factories which are not controlled.”
A total of 31 Prince Consort Vodka bottles were sent to the genuine manufacturer and found to be counterfeit or of “poor”
Jonathan Gray, representing Mr Patel, said the Arctic Vodka was bought from a man who turned up outside the shop with a glossy brochure. His number was provided to Trading Standards.
Mr Patel has bought a £4,500 CCTV system and a £11,500 till, which asks staff to record if identification was asked for.
The store has been ordered to keep all records of purchases, including invoices, receipts and delivery notes relating to alcohol and cigarettes with full details of the supplier.
Mr Patel told the Daily Echo he has made the changes requested already as he wants his customers to be safe.
“Call it naivety or whatever but we had our fingers burnt,” he said.