An owner of a popular pub in Newcastle, County Down has been ordered to a summons of £6,000 after he pleaded guilty to charges after he was caught selling counterfeit vodka.
It is understood the owner Patrick Robert Maginn, of the well known watering hole, Quinn’s Bar and Off licence was ordered to pay the fine after the Trading Standards Service conducted a inspection of the premises.
Officers for the service conducted a number of test purchases whilst visiting the premises on December 18th last year and that a bottle Smirnoff Red No 21 being sold on the premises was indeed counterfeit.
Officers also seized a further five counterfeit bottles of vodka from the off licence, before they found 24, 1.5 litre counterfeit bottles from the upstairs and downstairs store rooms. The strength of the alcohol being sold by landlord is believed to have been 32.5%, but the law states that all vodka must have a minimum strength of 37.5%.
Meanwhile Alison Gilchrist, an enforcement officer for the Trading Standards Service, said: “This is a very serious offence and the fine imposed by the court reflects its severity.
“Mr Maginn potentially put consumers at serious risk to boost his profit margins. He was knowingly selling this product in a very popular high street location in a popular seaside town in Northern Ireland and showed a blatant disregard for his customers.
“Mr Maginn has given little thought to the consequences of his actions. It is lucky that, on this occasion, nothing of a harmful nature was found in the fake vodka being sold at his premises.
“However, Mr Maginn could not have known under what conditions this alcohol was made when he sold it for consumption. We are well aware of the dangers that fake alcoholic drinks pose to those that consume them.
“Counterfeiting harms legitimate business and threatens jobs.
“The Trading Standards Service will continue to investigate sellers of counterfeit goods and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any trader found to be selling fakes. We would remind anyone involved in this type of activity that the courts can impose penalties of up to £5,000 or six months in prison per offence if trademarks or copyrights are infringement