A St Helens man has been jailed after a staggering 1,000 litres of dangerous fake booze were seized from a local pub.
Cedric Fitzpatrick, 65, who ran the White House pub for several years, was jailed for nine months last week following a trading standards sting.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how watchdogs joined forces with the police to raid the Sutton Road pub two years ago after receiving complaints from neighbours about beer kegs being stored outside the premises.
Amazingly, residents reported that the beer kegs, which were being stored on land next the pub, were so large that they could be seen on Google Earth!
But trading standards chiefs also discovered nearly 1,000 bottles of fake whisky and vodka during a riad in July 2012.
Some of the vodka was later found to be industrial methylated spirits which were not only deemed “unfit for human consumption”, but potentially fatal if consumed in large quantities.
Landlady Barbara Gallimore, 71, Fitzpatrick’s partner, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for her involvement in the fake booze scam.
Both defendants, of Stirling Crescent, Sutton, admitted possession of dangerous booze.
They also pleaded guilty to charges involving 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.
Judge Anthony Long 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.”
The court also heard how Fitzpatrick was prosecuted for operating a “gambling den” from the pub earlier this year.
The White House pub has since shut down.