Council blind to the dangers of illegal vodka

Welfare Officer Mat Denton has slammed Sheffield city council’s decision to renew the alcohol licence of a local student shop that has been consistently found to sell illegal substances.

Nisa on Barber Road in Crookesmoor, now Costcutter, has been found on several occasions to sell dangerous, illegal alcohol to students. The illicit substances were tested and it was found the vodka was in fact industrial alcohol and contained a chemical commonly used in bleach, as well as xylene and toluene – two compounds found in paint stripper and dangerous for human consumption.

Despite this, the council renewed the store’s alcohol licence on Tuesday morning, on the condition that the premises supervisor was removed from his post.
Denton said: “It is disappointing that the council has taken the decision to renew the store’s license. The shop has repeatedly broken the law and has endangered the health of its customers by doing so, and I think these actions should have some serious consequences. I will be personally asking the council how they got to this decision.”

Zakar Ali Malook, the designated premises supervisor, was removed from his post following raids by Trading Standards, finding fake booze on two occasions. The story was exposed by Forge Press (Issue 40) in November 2011 when a reporter was sold unbranded ‘vodka’ in the Nisa store on Barber Road, now renamed Costcutter but remaining the same company, on sale for £7.99. The story was also used as evidence in the case.
Nisa have also been found guilty of selling alcohol to children on four separate occasions.

Tahir Ayub, the holder of the premises’ licence, sold alcohol to two 16-year-old girls in a test purchase operation in July last year, which then occurred again on two subsequent occasions. This was followed by the seizing of the store’s vast quantity of counterfeit substances, following an investigation by Forge Press.

Bottles were found to have incorrect labels, no product description or ingredients list.
Craig Fisher, a senior officer for Trading Standards expressed his concern about this activity: “Students are at risk. We’ve had reports from Walkley, Crookes and Ecesall Road, areas with a high student population.”
Premier on West Street was also prosecuted for the supplying of illegal substances, having sold counterfeit ‘V Vodka’ which had no name or address on the bottle.
This comes as part of ongoing investigations by Trading Standards into the sale of counterfeit vodka in Sheffield.

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