A BIRKENHEAD shopkeeper was found with more than 350 bottles of fake vodka, a court has heard.

The bogus booze was discovered after a Wirral trading standards officer raided the shop, RS Food and Wine in Derby Road.

In the stockroom she found 336 bottles labelled "Glen's Vodka" in seven boxes and behind the till she discovered a further similar 18 bottles, said Helen Richardson, prosecuting.

The shopkeeper, Mailvaganam Sathakaran, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court denying two offences under the Food Safety Act involving possessing and exposing for sale bottles with misleading labels.

Miss Richardson told the jury that trading standards officer Heidi Jones went to the shop on November 10, 2015 armed with a search warrant and found the counterfeit vodka.

The bottles were seized and some of the liquid sent for expert analysis which revealed that it was not "Glen's Vodka".

Sathakaran was invited for interview in February last year and he said a man called Sunni had come to his shop and offered to supply "Glen's Vodka" at a price lower than he would normally pay from his wholesaler.

Miss Richardson said: "He agreed to purchase some vodka and Sunni offered as good will gesture to apply a free case of Coke to the purchase.

"He said about four or five days later the man returned with the good and he handed over just short of £3,000."

Miss Richardson added that the man handed over an invoice in the business name KP Wholesale operating from West Bromwich.

Investigations via Companies House and a VAT checker revealed no business as registered to that name and a visit to the address given also failed to find it.

She told the jury that Sathakaran is relying on the defence of having taken reasonable precautions and having exercised due diligence.

The case continues