Market trader sold fake vodka

The Abingdon News and Booze stall in Blackpool's Abingdon Market is facing a licence review following allegations that they have sold alcohol to nuisance customers and beggars causing problems in the nearby Cedar Square.'The stall window from Cedar Square, with drinking warning signs.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-1-2013
The Abingdon News and Booze stall in Blackpool's Abingdon Market is facing a licence review following allegations that they have sold alcohol to nuisance customers and beggars causing problems in the nearby Cedar Square.'The stall window from Cedar Square, with drinking warning signs. PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-1-2013
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A market trader has been banned from selling booze after licensing officers seized bottles of counterfeit vodka from her premises.

Kailasben Gandhi, who runs Abingdon News and Booze at stall 13 inside Blackpool’s Abingdon Street Market, had her licence revoked by a Blackpool Council licensing panel.

Enforcement officers confiscated six bottles of alcohol which was labelled as Glen’s Vodka but which later turned out to be fake.

The hearing was told it was the second time officers had uncovered counterfeit booze there since Mrs Gandhi and her husband Arvindbhai bought the business in 2010.

They also had their licence reviewed in 2013 for selling alcohol to nuisance drinkers.

Council licensing officers seized the fake vodka when they visited the stall in January this year.

Mark Marshall, head of licensing enforcement at Blackpool Council, said: “Poor operators retailing alcohol in this locality will only have a bad reflection not just on the market, but the authority if adequate steps are not put in place to tackle this problem.”

Enforcement officers seized the vodka after visiting the stall in January this year.

Analysis proved it was not Glen’s Vodka, but was a cheaper product although it did not contain any harmful substances.

Mrs Gandhi’s solicitor Trevor Colebourne told the panel the couple would lose in the region of £50,000 if their licence was revoked.

This included their initial investment and rental commitments because they still had three years to run on their lease for the stall which relied on alcohol sales for a large part of its trade.

He said the purchase of the fake vodka had been a genuine mistake.

Mr Colebourne said; “Someone turned up with eight bottles and offered them for sale to Mrs Gandhi at a price which was not much less then she paid at the cash and carry.

“So it was not done for financial gain.

“It was a time thing, because they were struggling to get to the cash and carry to get more stock.

“It was an error of judgement and it wasn’t one of these horror vodkas containing paraffin etc, it wasn’t dangerous.”

In revoking the licence, panel chairman Coun Adrian Hutton said they had “grave concerns” about what had happened.

He added; “Persons going out to purchase alcohol should be confident it is genuine.”

Mrs Gandhi has also previously pleaded guilty at Blackpool Magistrates Courts to offences in connection with the sale of fake vodka and was fined £110.

Mr Colebourne said after the hearing his client would lodge an appeal against the decision.

The premises can continue to trade until any appeal is decided.