Fined for knock-off vodka sales

A DARFIELD man has pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court to selling cut-price counterfeit vodka.

Trading Standards Officers first became suspicious when they noticed 70cl bottles of vodka were being sold for £8.49 at The Premier store on West Street, Sheffield.

Paul Barber, prosecuting, told Sheffield Magistrates’ Court that officers noted the UK Duty Stamp on the bottles looked of poor quality, and decided to take them away for testing.

The results showed the ‘V Vodka’ was only 31.2 per cent alcohol - well below the 37.5 per cent needed to be classed as vodka.

Trading Standards approached Barnsley-based Albany Retail Ltd, which runs the shop, and interviewed the owner, Peter Clifton.

Mr Hyldon, defending Mr Clifton said his client had purchased the bottles from a man who he had not done business with before - and had no idea that he was buying fake goods.

He told the court it was Mr Clifton who was the victim of the con and that the real criminals had got away ‘scot free’.

Mr Clifton, as owner of Albany Retail, Edward Street, Darfield, pleaded guilty to selling falsely labelled food and drink.

He presented the bench with a financial statement for the company in an attempt to avoid a fine, but it was dismissed as there was no valid VAT number. Mr Clifton was ordered to pay a £1000 fine £500 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.