Mixer mix-up costs restaurant £2,000

PUBLISHED: 18:09 26 September 2006 | UPDATED: 12:02 04 May 2010

A ROUTINE Trading Standards inspection resulted in an Ely restaurant being fined thousands of pounds for filling bottles of Smirnoff and Bacardi with cheaper brands of the spirits. A Trading Standards officer visited BKK Thai Restaurant in St Mary s Stre

A ROUTINE Trading Standards inspection resulted in an Ely restaurant being fined thousands of pounds for filling bottles of Smirnoff and Bacardi with cheaper brands of the spirits.

A Trading Standards officer visited BKK Thai Restaurant in St Mary's Street in March, and carried out a test on a bottle of Smirnoff vodka to determine whether it was genuine or not.

Frank Chandley, representing the county council, told Ely magistrates on Tuesday: "She carried out a test by pouring a small sample into a plastic tumbler and using a test stick."

He said the stick turned yellow-green in colour.

"This test indicated that the bottle was not Smirnoff," he said.

The officer then carried out the same test on a bottle of Bacardi, and found that the bottle contained a different variety of rum.

Samples of each were then sent away to the county's public analyst, Smirnoff and Bacardi, who all confirmed that the spirits had been replaced with cheaper versions.

Michael Judkins, representing the restaurant's company director, Sisin Luangrungwilai, explained that a restaurant employee had filled the Smirnoff and Bacardi bottles with other spirits to save space following a delivery of bottles from a sister restaurant in Thetford which had been sold.

"There were a substantial number of bottles and most of them were not full - they were partly empty" he said.

"One of the staff trying to reduce the number of bottles and space has inadvertently put these spirits into the bottles."

Mr Judkins said the management were unaware of what had happened and that the incident was a "one-off episode".

Chairman of the magistrates Hamish Ross said there was no evidence that the switch had taken place with the intention of deceiving the public, but added that the incident represented careless management on the part of the company.

"There should have been adequate supervision in place and your company fell short," he said.

"This manner of trading is unprofessional."

BKK Thai Restaurant Ltd was ordered to pay fines totalling £2,000 under the Food Safety Act and the Trade Description Act, and £500 costs.

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