THE bosses of a Leigh company are set to appear in court over allegations they sold prescription-only drugs by falsely claiming they could cure cancer.

Roger Shelley and Kairen Bartram, who run the Vitamin Service, in London Road, are being taken to court by Essex Trading Standards over the setting up of the website, worldwithoutcancer. On the site, they allegedly sold vitamin B17 claiming it was a cure for cancer, in breach of consumer protection laws.

The pair also face charges that the medicine being sold should only be offered on perscription, and that the website misled consumers by offering treatment advice when it was linked to a commerical operation.

B17, also known as laetrile, is a partly man-made form of the natural substance called amygdalin – a plant substance found in raw nuts and fruit pips.

Trading Standards allege the website was “essentially advertising” Vitamin Service and its metabolic therapy in the guise of a .org information site – which is only reserved for not-for-profit organisations.

The drug being sold is only available on prescription in the UK, but Trading Standards allege this was bought in from Mexico through the website.

Cancer Research UK warns on its website against using B17. It says: “We recommend you don't replace your conventional cancer treatment with any type of alternative cancer therapy, such as laetrile.

Laetrile can cause serious side effects in some people, so we don’t recommend you use laetrile alongside your cancer treatment.”

Shelley and Bartram are due at Southend Magistrates’ Court on November 5. They were unavailable for comment.