Two people have been arrested for trying to sell 20,000 bottles of wine, not fit for human consumption.

The detainees, a man of 73 years of age and a woman of 51, both of Spanish nationality, stored wine in the basement of an vehicle sale and repair garage.

The Civil Guard in San Vicente del Raspeig launched an investigation following a complaint from a person who had bought 10,000 bottles of wine from a famous winery in Yecla (Murcia). Upon receipt and when tasting, they were of a quality as bad and so far from what the brand offered, he decided to return them. However, the victim was only able to recover two-thirds of the 6,500 euro that was given for the sale, before the seller disappeared.

Investigators conducted analysis of the wine, which revealed that it was not from the Murcia cellar, and that it had numerous shortcomings related to labelling, as there was no record of the packager or the bottler, lack of batch number or information about allergens.

In addition, the investigators were unable to certify that it was fit for consumption, but nevertheless, it was offered by detainees as a good reserve wine.

A study of the website from which the wine was marketed was enough for the Guardia Civil to identify the possible perpetrators of the scam, but lacked a location where they could have stored all the wine. The investigation, far from leading investigators to a winery, led them to an official garage licenced for repair and sale of vehicles in the town of Elche, with little trade activity related to any wine.

During the inspection of the underground workshop, the investigators counted up to 20,000 bottles of wine stored in unsanitary conditions spread across the floor in boxes of 3, 6 and 12 bottles with residues of several vehicles. The investigators proceeded to San Vicente where they had identified a 73 year old man and a 51 year old woman, both Spanish, as alleged perpetrators of a crime of fraud and a crime against public health.

The environmental arm of the corps, SEPRONA, also recorded a possible breach in health and consumption, and irregular storage of a food product in an inappropriate place.

The 20,000 bottles have been seized and made available to the competent authorities, continuing research on the original provenance of the wine.

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