Paint stripper additive in takeaway’s vodka

Zorba 3 takeaway in Winsover Road, Spalding. Photo: SG021012-117TW
Zorba 3 takeaway in Winsover Road, Spalding. Photo: SG021012-117TW
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A chemical used in paint stripper was found in two bottles of illegal vodka seized from a Spalding takeaway.

Zorba 3 licence holder Salman Pelit admitted buying vodka from a white Transit van because it was “cheap” and selling it to customers.

At a South Holland District Council licensing hearing on Tuesday, the premises licence for the Winsover Road kebab shop (pictured) was revoked.

Trading Standards and police swooped on May 4, finding vodka contaminated with the chemical T-butanol as well as smuggled bottles without UK duty-paid stamps.

County council safer communities manager Ian Newell told the panel: “We feel we have demonstrated that the management at Zorba 3 had no control over illegal operations running at the premises and the licence is being used to benefit financially from crime.”

He said T-butanol is used in paint remover or added to alcohol to make it unfit for drinking.

“At the levels we found, it is not necessarily harmful as such but the product is deemed unfit for human consumption in law,” he said.

Lincolnshire Police licensing officer PC Dale Walker said the raid was prompted by intelligence that a white Transit visited the shop every Friday. On the day of the raid, 29 bottles were delivered – no receipts were available – and at least 29 bottles were sold through the shop every week.

Speaking through a Turkish interpreter, Londoner Mr Pelit told the licensing panel: “I sold some of them, a few of them.”

Licensing panel chairman Coun Malcolm Chandler said: “The premises licence holder has admitted purchasing smuggled goods and counterfeit vodka, knowing it to be illegal, and to selling these items.”

He said Mr Pelit also admitted being present at the shop only two days a week when he was designated premises supervisor.

• Mr Pelit has a right of appeal in the magistrates’ court. A similar panel hearing against Zorba 4 in Stamford will be held in Grantham on Friday.