A store has had its license revoked after officers found 12 bottles of fake Yellow Tail wine – the latest store in Birmingham to be caught off guard. B&G Wines – trading as Max Convenience Store – in Monyhull Hall Road lost its license following a Birmingham City Council Licensing Sub-Committee hearing last week (8 March).
During the meeting, a trading standards officer said a member of the public who bought wine from the store found it to taste bad and returned to the store to complain, but “did not receive any help there”. A West Midlands Police representative said the wine found was ‘probably the remains of a larger quantity of counterfeit wine which was at the scene’.
Previous licensing subcommittee hearings heard that Birmingham has a “huge problem” with fake Yellow Tail wine which police say is likely to be spread by organized crime gangs. No one from B&G Wines attended the meeting.
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The Licensing Subcommittee – made up of Chair Cllr Diane Donaldson (Lab, Bromford and Hodge Hill), Cllr Mike Sharpe (Lab, Pype Hayes) and Cllr Adam Higgs (Con, Highter’s Heath) – has now made its decision. He revoked the license held by Veergathipillai Uthayasooriya and also removed him from his duties as Designated Premises Supervisor.
The subcommittee said in its decision: “The police informed the subcommittee that generally the buying and selling of counterfeit alcohol is done through cash transactions, and often ‘in the back of a van ‘ – so without traceability, and of course no UK duty is paid. Traders who unscrupulously buy counterfeit alcohol can have no idea where that alcohol comes from, or even if it is clean for human consumption.
“The subcommittee found that the sole intent behind such practices was to maximize profit by misleading consumers. This directly contravened the objectives of the crime prevention license and public order and public safety.
“Police have also observed that the victim in the sale of counterfeit alcohol is not just the consumer, but the brand itself. These underground activities are causing damage to the “Yellow Tail Wine Company” brand, destroying consumer confidence in their products and putting their business at risk in these uncertain times.
“It has also affected the livelihoods of legitimate traders in the surrounding area; they would find themselves at a disadvantage and unable to compete with an establishment that did not provide genuine duty-paid products. The subcommittee agreed that counterfeit products damage the reputation of successful businesses; as such, they have a very bleak view of it.
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