A SHOPKEEPER has ended up in court following the seizure of illegal vodka from his off-licence.

Erkan Hinisli, 29, from Turbary Wines at Turbary Road, Ferndown, admitted selling vodka containing prohibited levels of methanol, an industrial alcohol.

He also pleaded guilty to selling under strength vodka, alcohol with false ‘duty paid’ labels and was unable to identify his supplier.

Bournemouth magistrates heard how Trading Standards had received a complaint from a customer claiming that the vodka had made him feel ill, rather than drunk.

Officers visited the premises and made a test purchase of the ‘Granton’ brand vodka which was then analysed. They returned to seize 72 bottles of vodka and two bottles of whisky.

Hinisli later claimed he had bought the spirits from a man in a white van who called at his shop, stating he was representing a local cash and carry. The spirits were cheaper than usual and no receipt was provided.

Magistrates took into account the small monthly wage Hinisli was earning from the shop and his previous good character when they imposed a two-year conditional discharge. Hinisli was ordered to pay £1,600 costs.

Speaking after the case, Dorset County Council’s trading standards service manager Ivan Hancock said: “Our priority was to ensure members of the public were not put at risk.

“Officers visited local independent off-licences in the area after these spirits were seized but no other stocks of this vodka were found. Food and drink retailers must be cautious about what they are selling to consumers.

“Any trader who buys stock, particularly alcohol, from an untraceable source without proper invoices is not thinking about the safety of their customers.”

Anyone who has recently purchased this brand of vodka should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06.