A company accused of illegally selling potentially deadly "fat-burner" tablets to customers for consumption has gone on trial.
Carlisle Crown Court has heard how a "dangerous and toxic" substance known as 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) was shipped - in tablet form - to many thousands of customers around the world from a secluded Wigton industrial unit during one month alone in 2017.
Enhanced Athlete Europe Ltd - a company with registered addresses in north Cumbria and Gateshead - has gone on trial. One charge alleging the placing of an unsafe food product on the market during several months of that year is denied.
It is alleged the firm - not represented in court - marketed DNP "knowing or expecting that product was going to be for human consumption".
The court heard today how mixing and pill-packing machines, along with tablets and several kilos of yellow DNP powder were found in the Wigton unit when it was searched by environmental health officers.
"You will hear," prosecutor Joseph Hart said to jurors, "that DNP, whilst it can cause rapid weight-loss if consumed, it's toxic to humans, causing serious harmful side effects and, in fact, fatalities."
Email dosage discussions and feedback exchanged between website users and the company's director were recovered. Some messages raised "serious concerns" about the use of DNP as a fat-burner.
"The DNP one is the one they will jump all over you on," wrote one person to the company's director. "Last thing you want, bro, is some kid burning himself inside out."
Mr Hart alleged to jurors: "The prosecution say that those emails demonstrate that the company not only was committing the offence but knew what was happening."
The trial continues.