A Northampton shopkeeper has been fined more than £4,000 after he was caught selling illicit vodka.
A complaint was made against Kulasingatharmarasa Nimalathasan, who runs the Nisa Local shop in Birchfield Road East, after a customer bought a bottle of what appeared to be Glen’s vodka on September 2, 2014.
The shopper complained to Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team when he found the alcohol didn’t smell or taste right.
Trading Standards carried out an undercover test purchase and officers later returned to carry out a search of the premises, which revealed almost 300 bottles in an unlit cellar at the back of the store.
Tests found that the bottles contained illicit alcohol and Nimalathasan was prosecuted.
Nimalathasan pleaded guilty to a charge of selling food not of the substance demanded by the purchaser and which bore a false label, and to the charge of not being able to prove traceability of the product.
He was fined £3,300 for the offences and ordered to pay prosecution costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £4,420, at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, October 21.
Councillor André Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said: “It is incredibly dangerous for shopkeepers to sell food and drink products that are not authentic and could be unfit for consumption.
“As the Christmas season approaches, we’d like to remind shoppers to be wary of cut-price products and to report anything suspicious to Trading Standards.”
Consumers can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or www.adviceguide.org.uk/consumer .