Light touch on crime
Thursday, July 8 2004
A series of prosecutions for meat crimes over the past two years have collapsed on legal technicalities or have attracted light sentences.
The defendant associated with Operation Lobster Pot, in which 34 tonnes of decomposing meat were seized in an unlicensed, rat-infested warehouse walked free when the case was dropped by Tower Hamlets LBC. Evidence which was to be used in court was accidentally destroyed (EHN, 14 May, page 1). Carmello Gale, Colin Patterson of Ffostrasl and Peter Maguigan of Pontshaen were cleared of charges of conspiracy to supply unfit meat when a prosecution brought by Ceredigion Council ran out of time (EHN, 13 February, page 1). Smugglers bringing large quantities of meat through Heathrow and Gatwick airports were fined just £300 and £150, respectively (EHN, 16 April, page 2). A Hertfordshire poultry farmer who made £2,000 a week from a filthy illegal abattoir,
described by an EHO as “the worst he had ever seen” and who boasted on a BBC Crooked Britain documentary how easy it is to evade controls, was fined just £4,750 (EHN, 26 March, page 3).
Two Carmarthenshire men running a large-scale smokie production plant jointly received fines and costs of £2,500. Carcasses seized on the raid had a retail value of £15,000 (EHN, 22 August 2003, page 6). Eight men who were caught red-handed producing smokies in Lampeter, by EHOs from Ceredigion Council, merely received community service orders (EHN, 1 November 2002, page 2).