Man who claimed to ‘cure cancer’ with blood test and food fined and handed criminal behaviour order
A man who said he could cure diseases such as cancer and diabetes using just blood tests and food was fined a total of £2,250 and handed a Criminal Behaviour Order at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday 20 April.
The sentencing comes after a conviction handed down last month following an investigation by National Trading Standards, who act as the legal backstop for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Errol Denton (aged 52, from Woodford Green) was convicted last month of two breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and one breach of the Food Safety Act 1990. Mr Denton had previously received adjudications against him from the ASA but he refused to comply with those adjudications. This led to his case being referred to National Trading Standards officers based at Camden Council, who investigated the case and brought the prosecution against Mr Denton.
In addition to the £2,250 in fines Mr Denton was also handed a Criminal Behaviour Order by the Judge. The Criminal Behaviour Order bans him indefinitely from continuing to make false health claims. If he breaches this order then Mr Denton will face charges for Contempt of Court. Mr Denton was also ordered by the Judge to pay £15,000 in costs.
Mr Denton, who traded as a business called Live Blood Test and operated the website livebloodtest.com, claimed on his website that he could cure illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, eczema, gout and hypertension using just blood tests and changes to diet. He claimed to have helped two thousand people discard traditional medication and treatments in favour of using food as medicine. He also described cancer patients opting for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery as a “dumb move”.
Following the referral by the ASA, officers from National Trading Standards based at Camden Council opened an investigation into Mr Denton. As part of the investigation a trading standards officer undertook a test purchase appointment with Mr Denton. At the appointment Mr Denton claimed he could solve all of the officer’s blood issues and made a number of other claims about the officer’s health.
At the end of the appointment Mr Denton then gave the officer a bottle of colloidal silver (silver particles suspended in water) and advised them to consume it. Colloidal silver is not authorised as a food supplement and it is illegal to sell it with the recommendation it is ingested. Mr Denton also claimed the bottle contained 400 parts per million, but an analysis showed it contained just 4 parts per million.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “Some of the claims made by Mr Denton are frankly dangerous and despite being told by the ASA to stop he continued to make these untrue claims. He was also found by our investigators to be illegally advising people to consume products that were both incorrectly labelled and not authorised for human consumption.
“I am pleased that National Trading Standards has been able to fulfil its role in this case as the ASA’s legal backstop and secure this important conviction. It should send a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute people who do not comply with the ASA’s rulings.”
Paul Dunphy, Camden Council’s Director of Place Management said: “We are pleased the jury found that claims by Mr Denton to cure illnesses were misleading and false. The Judge stated that Mr Denton had been "reckless".
“As well as misleading clients over the contents and makeup of the treatments he provided, such claims could offer false hope to people who were vulnerable and in need of professional medical care and advice.”
ASA Chief Executive, Guy Parker said: “We welcome the conviction of Mr Denton following our referral to National Trading Standards.
“The advertising claims by Mr Denton were misleading and reckless and could offer false hope to people who were vulnerable and in need of professional medical care and advice.
“This case should serve as a clear warning: advertisers who refuse to play by the rules can and will face the legal consequences.”