A KEBAB shop owner has admitted selling illegal vodka after a woman bought a bottle and went to hospital after becoming unwell.
Ceyhoun Varol was caught after East Sussex Trading Standards received reports of the woman feeling ill after drinking the vodka bought at Erol’s Kebab and Steak House in Queens Road.
Varol, 33, admitted possessing and selling illicit alcohol and was sentenced to four months’imprisonment, suspended for two years, in a recent hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
The court heard Trading Standards officers seized two cases of counterfeit Smirnoff vodka and three bottles of Drop Vodka, an illegal brand which has in other parts of the country been found to contain industrial alcohol used in anti-freeze.
Varol, who gave his address as the kebab shop premises, was the sole director of a company called Courtnex Limited, based in Wilton Road, Bexhill.
In addition to his suspended jail term, he was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work, to pay £2,345 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge and to forfeit the alcohol seized. The woman was not believed to be seriously harmed.
Councillor Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “This sentence sends out a clear message that sale of illegal alcohol will not be tolerated and offenders will be pursued through the courts.
“People who sell illicit alcohol of uncertain provenance are not only depriving the Treasury of the duty paid by reputable traders, they are potentially putting people’s lives at risk.
“If you buy illegal alcohol you’re playing Russian roulette with your health.
“This is because as it is not subject to the usual stringent checks and safeguards, there’s no way of knowing what it might contain.
“We would encourage anyone who sees Drop Vodka on sale, or has suspicions about other brands of alcohol being sold, to help us combat this menace by reporting their concerns.”
In addition to his suspended jail term, he was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work, to pay £2,345 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge and to forfeit the alcohol seized.
Properly produced and certified alcoholic drinks are made with ethanol – alcohol that’s safe to drink in moderation. But fake alcoholic drinks can be produced using other cheaper types of alcohol which can have serious adverse effects on a person’s health. Anyone with concerns about alcohol safety contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.