Sunderland bar boss accused of selling bootleg booze

BOOTLEG BOOZE PROBE: Ttonic in Vine Place, Sunderland.
BOOTLEG BOOZE PROBE: Ttonic in Vine Place, Sunderland.
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THE manageress of a popular Sunderland city centre bar is to go on trial, accused of selling bootleg booze.

Lorraine Griffiths, 38, of Ttonic, in Vine Place, is also alleged to have been in possession of spirit which had been removed unlawfully from storage before duty had been charged.

The offences are alleged to involve 412 litres of counterfeit Smirnoff, and 39 litres of counterfeit Glens brand vodka.

The bar’s management company, Rubix Management Ltd, faces similar allegations.

All the offences are said to have taken place between April and June of last year.

Griffiths, of The Square, Fulwell, was not required to be present for the first hearing of the case at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Heather Bolton, defending, told the court all offences would be denied on the basis Griffiths bought the spirits in good faith, believing they were genuine.

The court heard inquiries will need to be made of Companies House to find who was a director of Rubix at the time, and if any of those individuals should be charged.

Prosecutor Ian Simpson said there would be three prosecution witnesses at the trial, including an expert from drinks maker Diageo.

District Judge Roger Elsey said the trial would take no more than half a day.

The judge set a trial date of May 26 at 2pm.