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Takeaway boss faces jail threat

PUBLISHED: 11:35 03 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:25 05 July 2010

A takeaway owner has been warned that he could face jail for trading after hours from his shops in Oulton Broad.

Ozkul Karausta, 47, who runs the Best Kebabs and Manhattan Pizza takeaways in Bridge Road was yesterday told by magistrates in Lowestoft that he could be sent to prison after admitting seven licensing offences.

A takeaway owner has been warned that he could face jail for trading after hours from his shops in Oulton Broad.

Ozkul Karausta, 47, who runs the Best Kebabs and Manhattan Pizza takeaways in Bridge Road was yesterday told by magistrates in Lowestoft that he could be sent to prison after admitting seven licensing offences.

Vicky Nutley, prosecuting for Waveney District Council, told the court that police started patrolling around Bridge Road in the early hours of the morning “after reports about bad behaviour were raised by shop owners and residents.”

On May 5 this year, police on patrol found Manhattan Pizza full of customers, who were being served food at 1.50am - nearly two hours after the midnight closing time set out in the shop's licence.

Miss Nutley said: “When questioned, staff said they thought they were supposed to stop serving at 12pm or 12.30pm so the officers cleared the customers from the shop and they were given refunds.”

Takeaways were also being sold at Best Kebabs after the shop's 1am licence when officers passed at about 1.30am on May 26 and filmed the shop trading after hours.

Karausta, of Bridge Road, yesterday pleaded guilty to four charges of serving food outside the hours of his licence and a further three charges of failing to display his licence and failing to produce it when asked by police.

On February 13 this year, Karausta was given a six week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work after admitting similar breaches of his licence.

Speaking in his own defence yesterday, Karausta said: “I was not at the premises. I was not in Lowestoft. I ordered my staff to obey the rules, I didn't want to commit this offence again.”

He added: “I swear on my children's life I knew nothing about it until a gentleman from the council walked in the shop and I was told I had to go to court.”

Trevor Lynes, chairman of the bench, adjourned the case until October 23 for full reports to be made but warned Karausta that he could face six weeks in prison for breaching his suspended sentence order.

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