Lurgashall company fined for false claims

Blackdown Distillery. Photo by Google Maps Streetview
Blackdown Distillery. Photo by Google Maps Streetview

A Lurgashall company which failed to amend false claims and incorrectly labelled products on its website has been made to pay more than £1,000 in fines and court costs, according to the county council.

West Sussex County Council said The Boutique Cellar Ltd, which was trading as Blackdown Cellar and Lurgashall Winery, was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £741.55 to Trading Standards at a hearing on Friday September 7.

A county council statement read: "It pleaded guilty to the offences which related to non-compliance with a statutory notice and failure to include business information on a website.

"The company was told by Trading Standards to correct misleading vitamin claims and stop describing a liqueur as 'port' on its website, but failed to do so.

"It also failed to include its registered name, number and its address on a website associated with the company which are legal requirements."

Trading Standards issued a statutory notice to correct the website by July 31 2017 but this was 'ignored', according to the county council.

Peter Aston, Trading Standards team manager, said that although none of the matters were 'particularly serious in themselves', the 'lack of engagement' by the company eventually left Trading Standards with 'no option' but to proceed with a prosecution.

He added: “This was a very frustrating and time consuming case for officers and I am pleased that we were able to recover our full costs.”

Debbie Kennard, cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said, as well as 'deceiving its customers' with false information on its website, the company also 'wasted Trading Standards officers’ time'.

She added: “I hope this outcome will act as a warning to other companies tempted to ignore instructions from our Trading Standards service.”

A county council spokesman said the company has since corrected the issues and has put in place measures to prevent it happening again.

You can report concerns about food standards by contacting Trading Standards by calling 03454 040506 or online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.