A FRAUDSTER selling dodgy food supplements received a suspended prison sentence after his company's products were found to be 'up to 99 per cent deficient' in some ingredients.

Rakesh Odedra, owner of Dirro Group Ltd, was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work for the fraudulent sale of food supplements.

The business was fined £24,000 after Mr Odedra pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud in a case brought by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

He was also given a two-year conditional discharge for other food regulatory offences and ordered to pay £6,000 towards the prosecution’s costs.

In 2016, an Oxfordshire-based customer of the company alerted the authorities after complaining a food supplement was not having the same effect as others bought from different companies.

Products from the online seller, trading as Vitastore, were tested and found to be significantly deficient in the alleged active ingredients, in some cases up to 99 per cent.

After an Oxfordshire County Council investigation, Mr Odedra, the sole director of Dirro Group Ltd, was charged with several offences, both as an individual and as the company itself.

These offences were under the Food Safety Act 1990, The Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007and the Fraud Act 2006.

He pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court on September 26, with the £24,000 fine made up of £5,000 per Food Safety Act offence and £3,000 per Nutritional and Health Claims Regulation offence.

Jody Kerman, from Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards, said: “When it comes to food products and supplements, we are all vulnerable consumers who need to have faith and trust in the accuracy of labels and descriptions.

“Food fraud can range from a local isolated issue, all the way to the national horsemeat incident of 2013 and therefore needs to be tackled at every level. Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service will take all appropriate action to help ensure that our county has thriving communities and a thriving economy.

“Food fraud is a serious matter that undermines public trust in food businesses and therefore our role is to not only protect purchasers, but to also support the vast majority of honest businesses by tackling rogue businesses.”