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Pub served lethal meths instead of real vodka; Landlady jailed for serving fake spirits and cigs.

Byline: GARY STEWART ECHO Reporter gary.stewart@trinitymirror.com @livechocourt @

CUSTOMERS at a Merseyside pub were sold methylated spirits "unfit for human consumption" in place of vodka.

Barbara Gallimore, the landlady of the White House pub in Sutton Road, St Helens, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court alongside her partner, Cedrick Fitzpatrick, who ran the place on her behalf, after an investigation by trading standards officers.

They raided the Join twitter @News White House in July 2012, as well as the couple's home in Stirling Crescent, St Helens and found they were selling fake whisky and vodka which was not just counterfeit but dangerous.

They also recovered 810 packets of counterfeit Regal cigarettes.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the court that 949 fake bottles of Drops, Prince Consort Imperial and Revolution vodka as well as Dexter whisky were recovered from the pub and their home but the whisky was not matured enough to be worthy of the name and the vodka contained industrial "denatured" alcohol, another name for methylated spirits, which is two and half times more toxic than ethanol.

He said the drink alone could have netted the pair a profit of PS46,709 and the tobacco PS1,630.

LivEcho Fitzpatrick, 64, pleaded guilty to failing to provide traceability of food, offering food for sale not of the substance demanded, placing unsafe food on the market and engaging in a prohibited commercial practice while Gallimore, 71, admitted similar but fewer offences.

The court heard that Gallimore was the landlady but allowed Fitzpatrick to run the pub and didn't know what he was up to.

Fitzpatrick said he was storing the counterfeit alcohol for someone else and didn't realise it was dangerous.

He had also been recently prosecuted for operating a "gambling den" from the White house.

The judge, Mr Recorder Long, said: "For many years Mrs Gallimore you were the licensee of the White House public house in St Helens. You allocated the running of that public house to Mr Fitzpatrick.

"It is frankly hard to believe you were unaware of how he went about running it. You must bear some degree of moral responsibility for what occurred."

He told Fitzpatrick: "You cheated your customers by selling them products that were not what they pretended.

"Worse still than cheating your customers you were selling as vodka a substance unfit for human consumption. You pleaded on the basis that you did not do so deliberately but when you buy black market goods of untraceable provenance you take that risk."

He jailed Fitzpatrick for nine months and Gallimore for six months although he suspended her sentence for a year.

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A selection of the potentially lethal drinks seized from the White House pub

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2014
Words:451
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