Retailers warned: don’t be fooled by cheap booze

A local authority has warned retailers to only buy from legitimate wholesalers after a shopkeeper was convicted of selling counterfeit vodka.

Salford, Manchester, retailer Mohmed Rokad was ordered to do 135 hours of unpaid community work for selling vodka that was not safe or fit for human consumption.

Rokad, director of Billo Ltd of Seedley Road, Salford, bought the vodka from a door to door salesman who offered it cheaper than a legitimate cash and carry. He pleaded guilty at Manchester magistrates court in January to one offence of possession of counterfeit alcohol under the Trade Marks Act 1994. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs.

Billo Ltd admitted the same charge, along with two charges of possessing unsafe food and two charges of being unable to identify the supplier, both under the General Food Regulations 2004. The company was fined a total of £2,680 for all five offences and ordered to pay £1000 costs and £15 victim surcharge.

The charges relate to 74 70cl bottles of counterfeit Smirnoff Vodka and 15 70cl bottles of Drop vodka which was found to be unsafe and unfit for human consumption.

The court heard that a member of the public bought vodka from the shop but complained after tasting it and suspecting it was not genuine.

Trading standards officers seized bottles from displays in the shop and the stock room. Tests showed the Smirnoff vodka was counterfeit and both brands were unfit and unsafe for public consumption.

Speaking after sentencing yesterday (February 27), Councillor Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment told the Manchester Gazette: “This fake vodka contained denatured alcohol which is highly toxic and can cause blindness, or even kill. Shopkeepers should always buy alcohol from legitimate sources such as accredited wholesalers; they are gambling with people’s health if they don’t.”

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