The landlord of a pub in Carlisle has landed a court bill of more than £6,000 after he admitted selling and displaying vodka falsely labelled as Smirnoff.

Grahame George Vallance, who runs the Coach and Horses pub on Kingstown Road in Carlisle, admitted selling alcohol not of required standard, falsely labelling a 1.5l bottle of alcohol as Smirnoff and failing to assist those acting in the execution of food safety laws.

Jon Farnworth, prosecuting on behalf of Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards, told the court: "The investigation started when Diageo, the brand owner for Smirnoff, conducted their own investigation on April 11 last year.

"An investigating officer bought vodka and took a sample and sent it off for tests. From the tests they realised it wasn't genuine.It contained 29.1 per cent alcohol rather than 37.5 per cent."

At this point, Cumbria Trading Standards were informed, who began their own investigation into the pub. They visited on March 25 last year and conducted similar tests, which provided the same results.

When quizzed by inspectors, Vallance lied about where the vodka had been purchased from.

"He said he'd bought it from Asda and it had been opened at the weekend, about four or five days ago, Mr Farnworth told the court.

Officers conducted tests on the vodka and asked for receipts proving it was in fact purchased from Asda, but Vallance was unable to provide proof of purchase for the vodka in question. Inspectors were then taken to the cellar of the pub.

"There were no Smirnoff bottles there, but on looking closely they could see a bottle hidden under Christmas decorations, quite far from the spirit shelf. They bring it back to the bar and there is a discussion about how it got there," continued Mr Farnworth.

Both the bottle of vodka in the cellar and on the bar did not contain Smirnoff, and were both about 29 per cent alcohol.

In interviews Vallance told officers he had received 12 bottles of vodka from a friend after his pub was robbed earlier in the year and £9,000 taken.

Mr Farnworth said Vallance told officers he was going to Asda, when in fact he had gone into the cellar to hide the bottle of vodka.

Ant Wilson, defending, said: "Mr Vallance doesn't have any issue with anything raised this morning and he has pleaded guilty to three offences."

Mr Wilson described the actions of Vallance as "a one off" and he had lost a lot of money in the burglary.

"At the time he found himself in a bit of difficulty with his mental health, depression and anxiety."

"It was reported in the News & Star in December 2019 that Mr Vallance went missing for four days. You may recall he was found in Brighton."

Vallance is unaware why he did that, explained Mr Wilson, but was not happy in his personal life at the time.

Mr Wilson said his client has been living off £40 a week as he struggles to keep his business afloat amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Vallance was fined £500, must pay costs of £5,679.50 and a £32 victim surcharge.