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15 March 2018

Court sentence for Smirnoff spirit scammer

The landlord of a hotel in Appleby has been convicted after pleading guilty to falsely describing alcohol, after a bottle behind the bar labelled ‘Smirnoff Vodka’ was found not to contain the famous brand of spirit.

Gary Richard Sharples was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £2,587.76 and a £20 victim surcharge after the hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court on 14 March 2018.

The court case followed a routine inspection of The Kings Head Hotel, 3 Bridge Street, Appleby in March 2017 by Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards Service, when a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka behind the hotel bar was tested for authenticity. On testing it was discovered the spirit in the bottle was not Smirnoff, and had instead been substituted with a different product.

John Greenbank, Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said:

"Trading Standards carry out inspections of local businesses to ensure that consumers within Cumbria can have confidence in the authenticity and safety of their purchases. It also promotes a fair and level playing field for businesses.  We hope the outcome of this case will reassure consumers within Cumbria that we consider the truthful description of food and drink products to be a priority area of work in protecting the public.”

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, Celia Tibble said:

"This is yet another example of the excellent work carried out on a daily basis by our Trading Standards team to ensure that the public in Cumbria are protected. The message is clear - if you are selling counterfeit products, you will be caught and punished."

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The landlord of a hotel in Appleby has been convicted after pleading guilty to falsely describing alcohol, after a bottle behind the bar labelled �Smirnoff Vodka� was found not to contain the famous brand of spirit.