Man convicted after screenwash sold as vodka

PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 September 2015

Warning has been issued about unsafe vodka.

Warning has been issued about unsafe vodka.

Archant

A NORTH Somerset man who sold 47 bottles of screenwash disguised as Smirnoff vodka to a Weston-super-Mare nightclub has escaped a prison sentence.

Andreas Antounas – also known as Andy Kebab – showed a ‘reckless disregard’ for people’s health and wellbeing after he sold the vodka bottles to a licensee in December 2014.

The licensee, who is a member of Weston’s Pubwatch scheme, became suspicious of the legitimacy of the vodka and contacted North Somerset Trading Standards.

Samples of the fake vodka were sent for testing by Trading Standards officers and were shown to contain iso-propanol – a chemical commonly found in screen-wash and antifreeze.

A council spokesman said: “The vodka was unsafe and could cause liver or kidney damage, or even result in a coma, after as little as a few glasses.

“The risk to human health was so significant that North Somerset Trading Standards and Avon and Somerset Constabulary mobilised officers to remove the contaminated vodka from circulation, and to raise awareness amongst the licensing trade.

“Antounas remained tight-lipped throughout the investigation and did not assist Trading Standards during the search for the contaminated product.”

Antounas, aged 55, pleaded guilty to a number of offences including a breach of food safety legislation at North Somerset Courthouse on June 26.

However, magistrates referred Antounas, of Stowey Road, Yatton, to Bristol Crown Court for sentencing on Friday owing to the severity of the offences.

He received a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Recorder Mr Jim Tindal said: “He (Antounas) frustrated legitimate enquiries of Trading Standards (and he) did not really care or think about whether the vodka was dangerous.”

The council’s spokesman added: “Antounas showed reckless disregard for the health and well-being of others in the community, failed to assist the authorities who were investigating the matter and received a suitable sentence to represent this fact.

“We will continue to work with the police and other agencies to protect our residents from this type of criminal harm.”

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