A Kings Norton Spar risks losing its licence next week after becoming the second Birmingham shop caught selling counterfeit wine in as many weeks.
West Midlands Police want to see the shop on Lindsworth Approach have its licence removed, after officers seized 16 bottles of counterfeit wine following a tip off from a member of the public.
The Spar is the second Birmingham shop to have its licence put up for review for selling counterfeit wine in a matter of weeks, after Tim’s Wine Cellar in Kings Heath was also visited by officers.
And while the number of bottles seized from the Spar (16) was not on the same scale as Tim’s Wine Cellar (409), West Midlands Police have argued for its licence to be revoked following the discovery.
“The evidence submitted by Trading Standards clearly shows that this premises are supplying counterfeit wine, selling it to the public and passing it off as a legitimate product,” an officer for West Midlands Police writes.
“On 23rd February 2021 Trading Standards received intelligence from the Food Standards Agency informing that these premises were involved in the sale of counterfeit wine.
“On 3rd March 2021 I visited the premises in company with Trading Standards officers who seized a total of 16 bottles of suspected counterfeit wine from the premises. All the wine was of the same brand.
“The bottles of wine seized on 3rd March have since been confirmed as counterfeit by the brand owners of the wine. Therefore there is no possible way that this counterfeit wine could have been purchased through the
normal legitimate supply chain.
“More often than not the illegitimate purchase and sale of counterfeit alcohol is made by cash transactions with no traceability and therefore no UK duty being paid.
“Traders acting unscrupulously purchasing counterfeit alcohol more likely than not ‘off the back of a lorry’ cannot have any idea where the wine has originated from or even if it was fit for human consumption. The only intention for these traders is to maximise profit, seemingly without a thought for the consequences and impact on the victims – with making money being the only driving factor.”
Police say they were tipped off about the counterfeit wine by a member of the public, who bought a bottle and ‘didn’t think it tasted as it should’ so stopped drinking it.
And the police say it is more by luck than judgement that the wine did not prove harmful for human consumption, adding that they have ‘no confidence’ in the management of the Spar.
“West Midlands Police have no confidence in the management of this premises,” a force representative writes.
“The purchase of this counterfeit wine could have only been made outside the recognised legitimate supply chain, with the premises knowingly crossing that threshold and being prepared to put the safety of its customers in jeopardy.
“The premises is unlikely to have paid UK duty on the wine or paid tax as this sort of illegal black market activity is unlikely to go through the company accounts.
“Furthermore by circumventing the legitimate supply chain the premises have more than likely gone on to fund organised criminal gangs and damage the reputation of a popular household brand in the process without caring about the consequences to the public, the brand or victims of these organised crime gangs.
“The premises have totally disregarded the licensing objectives with money making and profit their primary objective superseding public safety and prevention of crime & disorder.”
The hearing is due to be heard next week (June 28).