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Gym boss jailed for flogging killer fat-burning pills from his garden shed

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A MUSCLE-bound gym boss has been jailed for supplying fitness fanatics with potentially deadly fat-burning pills – the first conviction of its kind in Scotland.

Jamie George, 32, was punting 2,4-dinitrophenol – also known as DNP – from this garden shed in Denny, near Falkirk, even after he’d been nicked by cops over his iron-pumping plot.

Jamie George was punting 2,4-dinitrophenol – also known as DNP – from this gardenCredit: Michael Schofield

The illegal slimming drug – used by bodybuilders as a way of stripping fat – has been blamed for the deaths of 33 UK people including two Scots.

George – boss of the Muscle Hut gym in Falkirk – earlier pleaded guilty at Stirling Sheriff Court to culpably and recklessly supplying the toxic and potentially explosive chemical.

He was today jailed for 37 months.

The tattooed hulk admitted knowing the sinister substance was unsafe, injurious to health and potentially lethal if ingested.

He was nailed after a major criminal probe involving the Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Police Scotland and Falkirk Council.

FSS Head of Food Crime and Incidents Ron McNaughton said: “The conviction of Jamie George gives us the springboard to really highlight the dangers of this substance.

“It’s not fit for human consumption under any circumstances.

“If you take it you will likely become ill, potentially seriously ill and there’s a real possibility you could die.

“Despite that first intervention he still continued to supply DNP and that would give you an indication of his attitude.

“We spoke to him in 2018 so he was obviously aware of the investigation, aware of what had been recovered and aware of the considerations around DNP.

“When you look at the length of time any of these cases take to finally get something over the line and get a conviction it really gives us the opportunity to highlight to people the dangers.”

We told in May how the gym boss greedily flogged the tablets for four years despite warnings they could kill.

The toxic capsules contain fat-burning chemical dinitrophenol (DNP) and are known to be used by bodybuilders and people with eating disorders.

George punted thousands of them from his garden shed before he was snared.

The crook pled guilty to culpably and recklessly supplying the chemical from May 2017 to October 2021 from three properties, knowing it was unsafe and potentially deadly if ingested.

Allegations that he had also supplied steroids, insulin, clenbuterol and “other pharmaceutical products” were dropped by prosecutors.

According to FSS, DNP is an industrial chemical popular with those looking to lose weight fast.

It is often sold online or via social media as tablets or capsules – but it is dangerous and can cause blindness, high body temperature and death.

The drug – which had been classified as an explosive – will be added to a list of regulated poisons following a campaign by victims’ families.
From October 1 members of the public who want to buy it will need a licence via a registered pharmacist.

In 2017, Bernard Rebelo, 31, of Beckton, East London, was jailed for seven years for manslaughter after bulimic Eloise Parry, 21, died after taking pills containing DNP that he sold her online.

DCI David MacGregor, who helped bring George’s plot to an end, warned others not to go down the same route.

He said: “Jamie George was fully aware of the risks associated with DNP but still continued to sell it.

“If we get any information about people being involved in the sale of DNP we will, working with partners, investigate and seek to prosecute.

“This Is key for us in terms of being the first conviction of its kind in Scotland.

“The risk you pose to the public by selling DNP is significant and could lead to deaths.”

 Sheriff Derek Hamilton  said George had continued in his activities after he had been told that the pills could have fatal consequences.

He said: “While inquiries were ongoing you were served with a remedial action notice requiring you to cease manufacture, distribution and sale.

“You were well aware of the dangers of DNP.

“You took no notice of that and continued your trade.

“All the evidence points to your gain being very significant.

“You knew some years ago of the dangers of DNP, but even with that knowledge, you continued to put people’s lives at risk.”

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Sheriff Hamilton said DNP had recently become fashionable among bodybuilders, but death could occur from taking it, in spite of the best medical treatments.

He said: “Those who trade in this substance and put people’s lives at risk must expect significant sentences.”

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