HEALTH TABLETS SCAM SMASHED
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food supplements to combat arthritis and colds have been exposed as expensive fakes.
Trading standards chiefs found they had only tiny amounts of the advertised ingredients.
Their investigation was launched after a complaint that pills from Vitastore were less effective then others bought from different suppliers.
Lab tests established that the tablets, which cost as much as £11 for 120, were “up to 99 per cent deficient” in the active ingredients they were supposed to contain.
The businessman behind the scam has now been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence after admitting the fraudulent sale of food supplements. The pills were sold to online shoppers across the UK by Rakesh Odedra, 38, of Ilford, Essex. His company Dirra Group was also fined £24,000 at Oxford crown court. Its Vitastore site now appears to have stopped trading.
The Oxfordshire council trading standards department, which brought the case after the complaint by a local resident, said: “Vulnerable consumers should be able to trust the accuracy of food supplement descriptions.
“Our role is not only to protect purchasers but also to support the vast majority of honest businesses by tackling rogue companies.”
The UK food supplements market is booming, with sales of £431million in 2016 and a predicted total of £457million by 2021.
Almost half of all Britons take vitamins and minerals daily – but health experts have advised such consumers to be wary, especially when ordering from abroad.
The Food Standards Agency, which regulates the industry, said: “We advise consumers to check out the product and buy only from reputable sources such as pharmacies or known websites.”
The Age UK charity warned that fraudsters con the elderly out of millions of pounds by selling them “useless” health supplements.
CINEMA ROYALTY Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai was said to be on visit wish list STAR: Anil Kapoor ROW: Businessman Ahmed, left, poses with Sheikh Hamad FILM FAN: With Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan in snap
EXPOSED: Conman Odedra