(There’s an updated version of this story here)
A Leeds nightclub fined last week for selling industrial alcohol as vodka has decided not to reopen next month after its usual summer break.
Magistrates fined the owners of the BED club in the Grand Arcade (Gatecrasher Clubs and Bars Ltd) £5,000 with £2,095 costs after 656 litres of fake spirit were found on the premises in September last year, according to West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS).
It’s the biggest seizure yet of fake vodka by Trading Standards in West Yorkshire.
Officers went to the three-storey club off New Briggate in September last year following a complaint that the club was selling counterfeit vodka, according to a report on the Service’s website.
They found 656 litres of fake spirit labelled as “Premium vodka”, which the manager had just removed from sale that evening as a result of customer complaints, the report said.
“The drink was tested by the West Yorkshire Public Analyst and found to contain isopropanol, tertiary butanol and chloroform, none of which should be in vodka. All the bottles were subsequently seized by Trading Standards officers.
“The investigations revealed that the drink was obtained through a broker as a ‘cash deal’, arranged through the head office of Gatecrasher Clubs and Bars Ltd, which is based in Sheffield. The case against the supplier was adjourned until 13th September 2013,” the report said.
Trading Standards Committee Chair Cllr Val Slater said it was lucky the manager acted fast and no-one was harmed.
“I am astounded that a nightclub operator could have such scant regard for public safety by buying drink in this manner,” she said. “Adequate checks were not carried out on the product before it was put on sale and the unusually low price and basic packaging should have raised suspicions.”
Explaining the decision not to reopen in September, a spokeswoman for the club told the Yorkshire Evening Post today: “The location and configuration of the venue no longer matches with the current management team’s vision for clubbing.
“The venue is too small and despite the proposed development of the Grand Arcade, the parent company’s strategy moving forwards is for large capacity clubs in city centre locations.”
(thanks to @Sparkindy for pointing me in the direction of the Trading Standards report)