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Shop sold fake vodka that ‘can lead to death’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

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A SHOP keeper who sold fake vodka that contained a substance that can kill has escaped a jail sentence.

Javid Rahimi, who used to run Yalda in Uxbridge Street, Burton appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to three charges relating to the sale of Red Star vodka which contained the industrial based solvent T-butanol and was unfit for human consumption.

Khalid Mahmood from Staffordshire County Council said the vodka could seriously put people’s health at risk.

He said illicit vodka such as this contained nail varnish remover and screen wash.

He said: “It can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea and can lead to blindness and death.”

The maximum sentence for such charges is six months in prison or £20,000.

Enforcement officers from the council visited the shop in June last year and found five bottles of the vodka, which were being sold for £9.75.

Rahimi could not produce any invoices for them.

The vodka was analysed and the samples were found to be unfit for human consumption.

Rahimi, 25, whose family had held the premises licence since July 2011 said the vodka had been left by the previous owners.

He said: “I was not trained to know if it was fake or not. I am just in charge of stock. The vodka was from the previous owner.”

Magistrates told him: “We seriously considered sending you to prison. We feel this is a very serious offence.”

They sentenced him to a 12 month community order, 200 hours unpaid work and costs of £1,834.

Mr Mahmood said: “He failed to keep any records of the providence of the fake vodka. There was a failure to account for where it had come from which is not acceptable for a responsible shop keeper.”

Rahimi now lives in Sheffield.

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