UK firm convicted of illegally selling DNP-containing fat burner tablets

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

A UK-based company that distributed illegal "fat-burner" tablets containing 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) has been prosecuted in the country’s courts bringing an end to the firm’s online retail operations.

Enhanced Athlete Europe, a company with registered offices in Cumbria and Gateshead, was found guilty of placing an unsafe food product on to the market and ordered to pay a €114,000 (£100,000) fine, plus costs.

Its sole director, Shaun Corrigan was given a nine-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, 180 hours unpaid work, and was disqualified from being a director of a company for two years.

“DNP is a toxic chemical and the danger posed by this substance, with a very real risk of death, needs to be highlighted,”​ said Darren Davies, head of the National Food Crime Unit.

“It is completely irresponsible and unforgiveable to be selling this item for human consumption. We were pleased to work with Allerdale Council and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to secure this successful prosecution.” 

Carlisle Magistrates Court heard details of an investigation led by Allerdale Borough Council back in September 2017 in which authorities raided on Shaun Corrigan’s business premises in Wigton.

Officers found DNP in powdered and tablet form and the council also seized equipment intended to produce the DNP tablets.

Enhanced Athlete Europe had no representation at the three-day trial or during an earlier hearing, wherein the court entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the company.

What is DNP?

DNP is an industrial chemical that is illegal to sell for human consumption. Those taking it can experience nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid breathing and an irregular heartbeat.

Since 2007, at least 25 people in the UK have died as a result of taking it.

Enhanced Athlete is facing similar scrutiny in United States, where the firm is based in Sacramento, California, fronted by Charles Anthony Hughes (aka Dr Tony Huge).

Along with Scott Cavell, the two were listed as the original directors of Enhanced Athlete Europe, which was set up in Gateshead.

In an ongoing case, Enhanced Athlete is being sued by Nutrition Distribution for falsely advertising selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed illegal for use as a dietary supplement ingredient.

Speaking after Corrigan’s prosecution, Allerdale Borough councillor Carni McCarron-Holmes, said “This has been a really meticulous investigation by Council officers and I’m really pleased that it has resulted in a guilty plea by Mr Corrigan, and a successful prosecution of Enhanced Athlete Europe Ltd.

“People need to be aware of the dangers associated with DNP and drugs that can be bought over the internet.”

GoNutri Limited

In other court-related news, London-based GoNutri Ltd was ordered to cease trading after authorities cited a lack of commercial probity, objectionable trading practices and improper sales techniques.

The Insolvency Service found that GoNutri targeted elderly and vulnerable people using high pressure sales tactics and cold calling to coerce them to purchase vitamin and mineral supplements.

The High Court heard how sales operatives misled customers into believing they represented health centres in the UK or other parts of the NHS.

Products were sold at highly inflated prices and the same item could sell for different prices, ranging anywhere from €13 (£11) up to €57 (£49.99).

Customers were told that they hadn’t paid for items and were forced to pay multiple times for a single product. Others were sent items they hadn’t requested before being hounded into paying for them.

Investigators believed Go Nurti targeted around 409 customers, with an average age of 85. Between May 2016 and June 2018, the company generated sales of approximately €146,700 (£128,000).

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