Sheffield shop stocked toxic ‘vodka’

Spar shop in Richmond Road, Handsworth.
Spar shop in Richmond Road, Handsworth.
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Fake ‘vodka’ containing toxic industrial alcohol and chloroform was discovered on sale at a Sheffield convenience store.

Police were called to the Spar shop on Richmond Road, Richmond, after a member of the public contacted officers, fearing he had been sold counterfeit booze.

A report to Sheffield Council’s licensing board, which will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to revoke the store’s licence to sell alcohol, states police called to the shop seized a ‘large quantity’ of Kommissar and Selekt vodka.

The bottles were handed to trading standards officials, who carried out informal tests on the vodka and found alcohol levels were ‘well below’ those declared on the bottles.

The report said: “Formal samples were taken and sent for analysis.

“The Selekt vodka was found to contain industrial contaminants, isopropranol, tertiary-butanol and chloroform. The Kommissar vodka contained isopropranol and tertiary-butanol.

“The trademark holders both confirmed the products to be counterfeit.”

Isopropranol is an industrial solvent alcohol which can send humans into a coma and can be toxic in quantities above 15 grammes.

Tertiary-butanol is another type of industrial alcohol considered toxic in high doses, while chloroform is a type of anaesthetic which is known to be carcinogenic.

David Palmer, council trading standards officer, said: “The public’s safety is at risk when consuming these products, particularly during binge drinking and even when being consumed responsibly on a regular basis.

“Children and young people who drink illicit and counterfeit booze are put at an increased risk of harm, due to the likely effects of the illegal content.”

The vodka was on sale at two 35cl bottles for £8 – less than the normal tax and VAT payable on spirits.

Licensee Faisal Shahzad admitted buying vodka from a ‘non-legitimate source’.