Company fined £2k for selling ‘toxic’ vodka

Dr Naeem Sheikh of Exrock LTD
Dr Naeem Sheikh of Exrock LTD

A DOCTOR has been landed with a hefty fine after his company was caught selling counterfeit vodka containing toxic chemicals.

Trading standards officers found illegal bottles labelled as Smirnoff Vodka and Drop Vodka being sold from Town Wine Off-Licence on Kirkgate last year, a court heard.

The drinks actually contained chloroform and isopropanol and were below the 37.5 per cent alcohol level needed to be classed as vodka.

Dr Naeem Sheikh was a director of Exrock Ltd, which owned the city centre store.

The court heard that Dr Sheikh, 51, of Newcastle, was a consultant neurologist at a hospital in Sunderland, and Exrock Ltd seized trading in December.

Julie Allott, mitigating, said Dr Sheikh was unaware that the drink was being sold in the store but pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to selling the illegal substances.

He was ordered to pay £2,773 in fines and costs.

After the hearing Trevor Gray, principal officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service said: “It could have caused long-term harm to anyone consuming this product.

“It is never something that has been tested and we do not know how toxic it could be.

“The other danger is, as this product is made by criminals, they have no regard for the safety of the people who are going to consume it. Their only concern is making money criminally.

“I hope this serves as a warning to other businesses who may be tempted to buy such products.”