A RUNCORN private hire driver has been given a suspended sentence and had his minicab seized after he was found guilty of 21 offences in connection with illegal tobacco and alcohol.
The counterfeit goods were found in Ian Baldwin’s (50) taxi and a storage unit in December 2015 after an investigation by Halton Trading Standards.
The vodka tested as unfit for human consumption and could have caused drinkers to fall into a coma because it contained i-Propanol – found in hand sanitisers – and i-Butanol, used in paint solvents and ink.
Baldwin was sentenced to six months and 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years and a 20-day community requirement, plus £1,000 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
The court granted a forfeiture application to seize all counterfeit goods, plus Mr Balwin’s minicab, valued at £26,000.
Councillor Dave Cargill of trading standards said:
Halton experiences an unacceptable level of alcohol related harm with significant impact on local individuals, families and communities and likewise, smoking in Halton continues to have a significant impact on mortality rates.
“The risks associated with counterfeit vodka were so concerning that Trading Standards issued a press release to warn the public at the time of the seizure.”