On Monday 18 April 2016, Orbis Wines and Spirits Ltd, trading as Devlin’s Off-License, Concession Road, Crossmaglen attended Newry Magistrates Court, where they pleaded guilty to offences relating to the sale of vodka which was unsafe, not of the quality demanded by the purchaser, falsely described and also failing to identify the supplier of the vodka. Judge McNally fined Orbis Wines and Spirits Ltd a total of £10,000 and awarded £1,260 costs.
On 11 March 2015, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Environmental Health Department were requested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who were involved in a joint operation with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, to attend the premises of Devlin’s Off-License as they had discovered alcohol that they suspected was not genuine.
Tests carried out on the seized Vodka, showed that it contained a type of alcohol that was often used in cleaning fluid or aerosol de-icers and not normally used in the production of alcoholic drinks. This was therefore deemed unsafe for human consumption as it could cause blindness.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mickey Ruane commented, “The public need to be cautious before they purchase alcohol that is on sale at a cheaper price than normal. This case shows that apart from the avoidance of payment of excise, there is a real concern in relation to the safety of these products and the damage they can cause to human health.”
Councillor Ruane continued, “The Council continues to support responsible and legitimate businesses and on-going comprehensive checks by Environmental Health Officers are made routinely of all licensed premises in the district to ensure similar products are not on sale and to protect both businesses and public safety. Should the public or any businesses have concerns about the safety of alcohol on sale, they should contact the Council.”