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COUNTERFEIT WINE: 409 bottles found at King’s Heath off-licence

COUNTERFEIT WINE: 409 bottles found at King’s Heath off-licence

Image: LDRS

A King’s Heath off-licence showed ‘total disregard’ for the health of its customers by supplying counterfeit bottles of wine, it has been revealed.

And Tim’s Wine Cellar on Haunch Lane should lose its licence, police have argued, after 409 bottles of the counterfeit wine were seized from the premises.

With a hearing due to be heard before a licensing committee next week (June 21), both West Midlands Police and Trading Standards have called for the shop to have its licence revoked, after a raid earlier this year.

“The evidence submitted by Trading Standards, gathered from a joint intel lead visit with West Midlands Police Licensing Team and followed up with further enquiries by Trading Standards, clearly demonstrate the premises’ licence holders’ disregard for the Licensing objectives by supplying counterfeit alcohol and selling it to the general public,” a representative from West Midlands Police writes.

“On March 9th 2021 Trading Standards with West Midlands Police visited the premises. This visit leads to the seizure of 409 bottles of counterfeit branded wine.

“The success of such a large scale operation will require the use of organised crime gangs to distribute and sell the products through legitimate businesses with the cooperation of traders, trading via illegitimate methods.

“The sheer amount of seized counterfeit alcohol shows the premises takes a nonchalance attitude towards trading legally to consumers with total disregard for the licensing objectives and the health of its customers.

“The volume of counterfeit wine seized shows the premises management are willing to invest a significant amount of money into illegal activity with the hope of further monetary gains at the expense of its customer base.

“The premises are gambling with the consumer’s health for monetary gain.”

A representative for Trading Standards has also written to the council outlining concerns, highlighting the fact that the shop will also have been making financial gains from picking up cheap illicit alcohol.

But it is West Midlands Police who have spoken out most strongly against the shop, concluding their evidence by saying: “The premises licence holder has provided a channel to successfully fund and support organised crime gangs. Although we are limiting this to talking about counterfeit wine, the money generated from this operation leads to funding other operations of criminal activity which has even more negative impacts on the wider community.

“West Midlands Police have no confidence in the management of these premises. There’s a clear understanding of knowing the purchase of these products is illegal, the planning to conceal this at the premises and pass off with legitimate products and the sheer quantity of illicit alcohol shows the premises management have no intention to uphold the licensing objectives, prioritising profit and monetary gain over the general consumer and wider community.

“West Midlands Police see the only suitable solution is for the premises licence to be revoked.”

A hearing will take place next Monday June 21st.

Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter


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