Cross Heath shopkeeper sold 'lethal' bottles of spirits
A FORMER shopkeeper has been fined after potentially fatal fake vodka was found for sale.
Trading standards officers visited B-Hive News in Cross Heath and purchased two bottles of Admiral Premium Quality Vodka from licensee Handan Guzel.
She was prosecuted after the vodka was found to contain seven times the permitted level of methanol.
The 27-year-old, who has sold the business on since the discovery in October, 2011, was ordered to pay £1,232 in fines and costs at Stafford Magistrates' Court yesterday. Guzel pleading guilty to failing to comply with food business regulations.
Prosecutor Khalid Mahmood told the court that the vodka's high methanol content made it unfit for human consumption.
He said there had been previous cases, in this country and in Russia, where deaths had resulted.
Guzel admitted that she was the owner of the business, but said her father had bought the two bottles from the back of a van.
The bottles were purchased for £6, and were for sale in the Beattie Avenue shop for £9.99.
Mr Stephenson said: "The defendant clearly failed to exercise due diligence, in that she did not check to make sure the vodka was fit for human consumption."
Mike Stephenson, mitigating, said that as there were only two bottles of the vodka in the shop, Guzel would only have made a very small profit.
He added: "Ms Guzel was the licence-holder for this shop, and she was working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. This is quite unusual for a 27-year-old.
"She has sold the business, and is now claiming jobseeker's allowance. She doesn't ever want to own a shop again."
Guzel, of Harcourt Street, Shelton, was handed a £330 fine, and ordered to pay £887 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for communities Pat Corfield said: "This is the latest in a wave of prosecutions against shop keepers who have shown utter disregard for their communities."