YOUNG drinkers were served watered-down cleaning fluid as vodka by a bar owner trying to make a ‘fast buck’.
Ali Asgari bought 39 bottles of the cheap industrial spirit - labelled Arctic Ice Vodka - which he sold to drinkers unaware it can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blindness and even death.
Asgari, aged 55, owned Soul Bar and Oxygen in Barnsley at the time of the offences last July, and when he was running short on vodka paid £30 for six bottles of the spirit which contained chloroform and ethanol.
Jamie Impey, prosecuting for trading standards at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court, said the bottle labels had the words Arctic Ice Vodka emblazoned across the front along with the letters ‘EEC’ - but little other detail.
Mr Impey said: “The liquid supplied to Asgari was never designed for human consumption.
“At its most extreme this sort of alcohol, which is generally used for cleaning, can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness or even blindness.”
Alan Greaves, defending Asgari, who admitted five breaches of labelling and sales rules, said: “Although we accept this vodka can cause serious injury to those who drink it, there’s no evidence to suggest in this instance that it has.
“Many other establishments much like his own have been duped into buying this fake vodka.”
Asgari, who no longer runs the bar, was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for a year.
District Judge John Foster said: “Some young people drink far too much for far too long, and often when they are looking for a late drink they turn up inebriated to places like yours.
“You owe them a duty of care and here you are serving them industrial strength vodka.
“The product you purchased was highly dangerous and luckily it appears nobody has suffered as a consequence of drinking what is in effect cleaning fluid.
“This was a complete breach of the regulations which are in place to protect consumers, and you did it to make a fast buck.”
Asgari was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,580.