Sunderland landlady caught selling fake vodka in pub

Paula Carr
Paula Carr

A Sunderland landlady was caught selling fake vodka containing industrial-grade alcohol in her pub.

Trading Standards inspectors found 41 bottles of the counterfeit spirits when they visited Hogans in Southwick last December, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Hogans pub

Hogans pub

Licensee Paula Carr, 40, said she bought the dodgy booze from a random man who visited the pub.

She did not get a receipt and had no way of knowing whether the contents were harmful.

Carr has been told she will keep her licence but magistrates sentenced her to a three-month curfew, between 7pm and 7am, during which time she must remain on the pub premises, where she also lives.

Jim Witherspoon, prosecuting, said the prosecution was brought by Sunderland City Council’s Trading Standards on behalf of the weights and measures authority and related to 14 bottles labelled Glen’s Vodka, and 27 bottles labelled as Chekov Vodka.”

Mr Witherspoon said Trading Standards found the bottles they suspected were counterfeit, in the beer cellar.

Samples were sent off for analysis and were found to contain isopropanol, which acts as a depressant on the nervous system, and Butanol.

“This was confirmed to be of industrial, rather than agricultural origin,” Mr Witherspoon said.

When samples were sent to the manufacturers of Glen’s and Chekov Vodka, they confirmed the bottles and their content were counterfeit, containing industrial grade alcohol, Mr Witherspoon said.

He added: “She said that despite being the designated premises supervisor for 11 years, she admitted paying £60 per box of vodka, to an unknown man who came to the pub on December 21, and she did not get a receipt.”

Carr, of Hogan’s, Stoney Lane, admitted two counts each of possession of goods with a false trademark, for sale; engaging in a misleading commercial practice and; selling food not of the nature, substance, or quality demanded by the purchaser.

Gavin Sword, defending, said: “She has no previous history in anything like this, she has no previous convictions, full stop.

“This is totally out of character,” he added. “A one-off opportunity presented itself against the background of times being hard in the business.

“Ironically, what she paid was not much less than she would have paid at the cash and carry, so it really was a very foolish decision, which she very much regrets.”

Mr Sword handed four references to the magistrates, which he said showed Carr’s “twenty years of unblemished service to Southwick Green”.

Carr was also told to pay £100 costs and a £60 surcharge.

She was told the bench would take no action in relation to her licence, because of her previous good character and remorse.