Warning over watered-down drinks

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Pub bosses have been warned they risk losing their licence if caught watering down drinks after a suspected case in the Derbyshire Dales.

Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards team took samples of spirits from eight randomly selected venues in the run up to Christmas.

The checks were part of an East Midlands-wide crackdown on a process known as ‘tipping’ – where cheap spirit is passed off as high quality branded product for sale to unsuspecting revellers.

Laboratory analysis of the 16 Derbyshire samples found no evidence of tipping.

But one sample of rum taken from a pub in the Derbyshire Dales area appeared to have been watered down and investigations are continuing.

Councillor Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “This is an issue which we take very seriously.

“As with any purchase consumers should get what they pay for and we have a duty to protect the interests of businesses which are trading legitimately.

“I’m pleased to say that none of the samples we took turned out to be substituted cheap or counterfeit spirits passed off as branded products. This has been the case in other areas of the country and can have very serious implications.

“Our officers are carrying out further investigations into the failed sample before deciding what action to take. This could ultimately lead to the revocation of a premises’ licence to sell alcohol and a fine or imprisonment.”

The alcohol by volume (ABV) in six of the other 16 samples taken during the Derbyshire tests was marginally below standard. It is thought this could be down to alcohol evaporation – caused by the use of bottle top pourers which are not sealed being used. Businesses using such instruments are being advised to do so with caution.

Anyone with concerns about the spirits they are purchasing in bars, pubs or clubs should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.