South Glos

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Defendant behind meat cutting at car wash given custodial sentence

A man has been jailed after a raid by Wiltshire Council environmental health officers, the police and the Food Standards Agency found meat being cut in conditions described by officers as “some of the most shocking” encountered.

Gent Jakupi of both New Park Street Devizes and Andover Road, Ludgershall, pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates Court on 8 October to 39 food hygiene offences.

He has now received a 10-month custodial sentence and a prohibition order preventing him from running any food businesses.

The judge concerned said: "It was a litany of offending over a prolonged period causing public health risks with potential for fatal consequences” and an “intentional and flagrant breach of the law".

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Wiltshire said meat cutting was being carried out at Mr Jakupi’s two hand car washing businesses.

Mr Jakupi initially denied he had been cutting meat, telling officers he was using the bandsaw present to cut wood, despite meat debris being clearly visible on the machine.

CCTV footage seized during that raid showed unhygienic meat cutting had been carried out for several weeks.

Despite an emergency closure and the seizure of meat during the initial raid at Devizes, authorised surveillance revealed Mr Jakupi then moved his meat cutting to his site at Ludgershall without the necessary permissions or hygiene precautions, resulting in a second search.

Ashley O'Neill, Wiltshire's cabinet member for public health and protection, said:  “I am pleased that we were able to pursue a conviction in this case, as it was one of the worst cases that our food and safety team have dealt with and the defendant concerned was putting the public at serious risk.”

Steve Smith, head of outreach and prevention, National Food Crime Agency said:  “This has meant that the significant food safety risks posed to consumers by the defendant's activity and online sales across the UK were quickly identified, traced, and meat removed from sale.’

He said meat already sold had been successfully recalled.

Mark Smulian

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