A County Derry trader has been fined £1,500 by Derry Magistrates after pleading guilty to selling under-strength counterfeit vodka at court today.
In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department for the Economy, M, C & A Trading Ltd which was trading as Derry city's Castle Bar on Waterloo Street pleaded guilty to two charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and one charge under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the company was fined £1,500.
In November 2015, Trading Standards Officers as part of a Europe-wide exercise into counterfeit food and drink, inspected the premises where they found suspected counterfeit Smirnoff vodka displayed for sale and stored in the bar area.
Subsequent examination by a representative for the trade mark holder confirmed labels, closures and the vodka to be counterfeit. Further testing revealed that the spirit could not be legally classified as vodka as its alcohol strength was found to be 32.4% rather than the legal minimum requirement of 37.5%.
Nicholas Lane of the Trading Standards Service said: “Customers pay good money for a branded item. This was counterfeit and under strength. Counterfeit spirits are frequently made and bottled in unhygienic conditions with no quality control. In this case the Trade Mark representative expressed concern at the poor visual clarity of, and the presence of particles in, the bottles of spirit he examined.”
Anyone who believes they have been sold counterfeit goods should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or www.nidirect.gov.uk/consumerline.