Monday, 22. December 2014
25. 07. 14. - 16:00
A Chinese man is facing jail after he stole 30,000 bottles of iced tea worth 20,000 GBP - and emptied all of them down the drain so he could claim 11 GBP worth of deposits for recycling the bottles.
Police were alerted to the fact that the iced tea stored in a warehouse in the city of Wenzhou in China's Zhejiang Province had been stolen when Liang Feng, 38, who owns a drinks wholesale firm arrived to collect a palette of iced tea that he wanted to take to a customer.
Realising that the entire warehouse had been emptied, he called police, who were initially baffled at finding no trace of the stolen drinks on the local black market.
But scene of the crime officers noticed a very strong and sweet smell outside the door of the warehouse, and on closer investigation found several bottle tops.
Police spokesman Lin Jianxue said: "After making further enquiries we discovered that a large number of iced tea bottles had been recycled with a local collector – and from there they were able to track down the man that it sold them. The collector remembered because usually the bottles are mixed when they come from private people, and these were all of the same type and not dirty as if they had never been in the bin."
When they arrested Zhang Hao, 43, he confirmed that he had discovered the warehouse was unlocked when looking in the area for recyclable bottles.
He had then called three friends, and together they had spent 12 hours unscrewing the bottles, and tipping the iced tea onto the ground outside the warehouse. They had then called a local plastic bottle collection firm to take the bottles away, for which they were paid 11 GBP.
The firm that collected the bottles then sold them on for 90 GBP to a recycling plant.
Police said no action would be taken against the recycling firms or the man's three friends who had no idea that what they were doing was illegal.
Zhang on the other hand faces up to 10 years in jail for the theft.
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