Salford off-licence owner escapes jail after flogging illegal and dangerous counterfeit booze

By Glen Keogh

Hundreds of bottles of counterfeit and illegal vodka, whisky and wine almost landed a Salford off-licence owner in jail when trading standards officers discovered he had nothing to prove where they came from.

Faisal Mahmood, who ran the Windsor Mini Mart in Cross Lane, Langworthy, had no receipts or paperwork to show where or how he had obtained more than 500 bottles of booze.

He was told he could not sell the alcohol until investigations were completed – but when officers arrived the next day to seize the alcohol there were less than 50 bottles still there.

Mahmood, 22, of Empress Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to 11 trading standards and licensing offences in total at Manchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He was charged with a variety of offences including selling counterfeit goods, having goods which could not be traced, obstructing an officer in investigation and possession of goods on which duty had not been paid.

Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment at Salford City Council, said: “Counterfeit alcohol is very dangerous and could contain chemicals that are not for public consumption.

“This is a reminder that we will continue to make unannounced visits to licensed premises and deal firmly with those that do not abide by the law.”

Mahmood was given a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £500 costs.

Officers initially discovered almost 300 bottles of vodka and whisky with no receipts or paperwork – the next day there were less than 50 in his shop – with some still on sale behind the counter.

He claimed to have returned the goods to his supplier and was unwilling to cooperate with investigators.

Further investigation found 209 bottles of illegal wine in the cellar and 67 behind the counter.

The duty had not been paid on one batch and the other batch was found to be counterfeit.

Mahmood was also stripped of his personal licence which prevents him from working in licensed premises and the court ordered the forfeiture of the alcohol.

The Windsor Mini Mart has already lost its premises licence.           

Picture courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.

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