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‘Gambling’ with lives: Salford shopkeeper sentenced for possession of potentially deadly counterfeit vodka

By Colin Henrys

Potentially lethal counterfeit vodka has landed a Salford shopkeeper with 135 hours of unpaid community work.

Mohmed Rokad, director of Seedley Road’s Billo Ltd, pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit alcohol at Manchester Magistrates Court in January, after buying it from a door-to-door salesman.

Councillor Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment, condemned Rokad, who was also ordered to pay £500 costs.

She said: “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; they are gambling with people’s health if they don’t.”

Rokad pleaded guilty to one offence of possession of counterfeit alcohol under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and was sentenced today.

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

A member of the public bought vodka from the shop but complained after tasting it and suspecting it was not genuine.

Following the complaint, Trading Standards officers seized bottles from displays in the shop and the stock room.

Tests on the Smirnoff vodka found it to be counterfeit and both brands were found to be unfit and unsafe for public consumption.

Photo courtesy of oliverwales, with thanks.

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