Birmingham shop's licence revoked after fake wine discovery

A shop has had its licence revoked after officers found 12 bottles of fake Yellow Tail wine – the latest Birmingham store to be caught out.

Yellow Tail wine
Yellow Tail wine

B & G Wines – trading as Max Convenience Store – in Monyhull Hall Road has lost its licence following a Birmingham City Council licensing sub-committee hearing last week (March 8).

During the meeting, a trading standards officer said a member of the public who bought wine from the shop found it tasted wrong and returned to the shop to complain but “got no help there”.

A representative of West Midlands Police said the wine found was “probably the remnants of a larger quantity of counterfeit wine that had been on the premises”.

Previous licensing sub-committee hearings have heard Birmingham has a “huge problem” of fake Yellow Tail wine which police have said is likely to be spread by organised crime gangs.

No one from B&G Wines attended the meeting.

The licensing sub-committee – consisting of chair Councillor Diane Donaldson, Councillor Mike Sharpe and Councillor Adam Higgs – has now given its decision.

It has revoked the licence held by Veergathipillai Uthayasooriya and also removed him as designated premises supervisor.

The sub-committee said in its decision: “The police advised the sub-committee that usually the purchase and sale of counterfeit alcohol is made via cash transactions, and often ‘from the back of a van’ – therefore with no traceability, and of course no UK duty being paid.

“Traders acting unscrupulously in purchasing counterfeit alcohol cannot have any idea of the provenance of such alcohol, or even if it is fit for human consumption.

“The sub-committee considered that the only intention behind such practices was to maximise profit by tricking consumers.

“This was directly in contravention of the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder, and public safety.

“The police also observed that the victim in the sale of counterfeit alcohol is not only the consumer, but the brand itself.

“These underground activities cause 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 also affected the livelihood of legitimate traders in the vicinity; they would find themselves disadvantaged and unable to compete with a premises which was not supplying genuine duty-paid products.

“The sub-committee agreed that counterfeit products damaged the reputation of successful businesses; as such they took a very dim view of it.”

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