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Sale of fake vodka costs off licence £2,000

The owner of a West Yorkshire off licence has pleaded guilty to supplying fake Smirnoff and Drop vodkas from premises on Kirkgatein Wakefield. The owner, a Newcastle registered company called Exrock Limited, traded under the name of Town Off Licence and has recently closed the shop down.
 
Drop vodka has been the subject of much local and national publicity. The Food Standards Agency has warned against its consumption because it contains the toxic chemicals isopropanol and chloroform. It is thought to have been produced from industrial alcohol, which should not be consumed, under any circumstances.
 
Both fake vodkas are thought to have been supplied by the same “white van man” and therefore the manufacturers have been untraceable. So called white van men usually offer fake drinks at a price which is less than the cost of the tax and duty alone and this in itself should give anyone a clue that what they are buying is illegal.
 
The director of the company showed a great deal of remorse for failing to adequately control the purchasing of stock sold throughthe store, but the Magistrates recognised the severity of the offences by imposing a total fine of £2000 and ordering him to pay costs of £758.
 
Graham Hebblethwaite,Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “It is vital that traders stop buying alcohol from illegal sources. The criminals that bottle this stuff have no conscience and do not care if their products poison people. They, and the off licences that sell it to the public are putting lives at risk for the sake of making a fast buck.”
 
Councillor Neil Taggart, Chair of West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work ofTrading Standards,said:“Consumers have a right to expect that retailers sell only legal products but they should still be on their guard against buying fake alcohol. If anyone suspects they have bought fake booze either because of its strange taste or smell or because of poor labelling, then they should contact Consumer Direct, on 08454 04 05 06, for further advice.”