Man fined for selling vodka fakes and bottles contaminated with chemical

A man who sold fake and chemically contaminated vodka at a Spalding takeaway must pay more than £2,000 in fines and court costs.

Londoner Salman Pelit, who sold the vodka through Zorba-3 in Winsover Road, also had his personal licence to sell alcohol revoked by Spalding magistrates on Wednesday.

He was fined £400 for not being able to identify his supplier, and fined £265 on each of three other offences – selling alcohol labelled as vodka when it was under strength and on two counts of selling non-duty paid alcohol.

His fines, court costs and victim surcharge total £2,088.46.

Police and trading standards officers raided the shop on May 4 last year.

Jo Furner, prosecuting for Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said some bottles contained T-butanol, a chemical used in solvents and usually added to products to make them unfit for human consumption.

She said: “During the course of the interview, it was quite apparent that he (Pelit) could not identify the person from whom he obtained the vodka other than to say it was a Polish man who had visited the takeaway.”

Mrs Furner said illegal alcohol is often produced in premises with poor hygiene and poor quality control and levels of potential harm vary from bottle to bottle.

“The risk to human health is a real one,” she said.

Sushil Kumar, mitigating, said a Polish man visited Zorba-3 offering cheap vodka that would be popular with East Europeans.

“Mr Pelit foolishly succumbed to temptation and bought the alcohol,” Mr Kumar said.

Pelit bought 60 bottles in January of last year and had 24 left when trading standards checked.

He told the court Pelit, a father of four, no longer works at Zorba-3 – which is his brother’s business – and earns his living in London restaurants.

Presiding magistrate Sally Ruttley said the bench felt they had no alternative but to order the forfeiture of Pelit’s personal licence as the bottles had potential to cause great harm to the public.