Slimming tea strains belief

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ALAN HADFIELD, alias Professor Zhang Shun Yi, sent out thousands of letters acclaiming the slimming powers of his Chinese tea, but one was delivered in error to a trading standards office, a court was told yesterday.

When tests on the Sinz Zi tea were done, officers found it was nothing more than Lapsang, Robin Mair, for the prosecution, said. 'The claim was rubbish - it was nothing more than tea used for an ordinary cuppa,' he told magistrates in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Hadfield, 46, of Audenshaw, Manchester, was helped by his wife to weigh jars of tea - at pounds 30 a time - on kitchen scales, Mr Mair said. He then sent out thousands of mail shots - including the one received by Harrogate trading standards officers - claiming Sinz Zi would accelerate body metabolism and burn off fat.

'The enterprise was designed to make as much money as possible and the business would then be liquidated,' he said.

David Burton, for the defence, said Hadfield bought a mailing list and targeted 365,000 homes. But only 4,535 people replied and he made 765 refunds. 'He did not make a fortune.'

Hadfield admitted making false claims, labelling his product without an address and selling the tea for what he said was a reduced price when in fact it had only just come on the market. He was fined a total of pounds 850 and ordered to pay pounds 550 costs.