A judge has handed a 10-month custodial sentence to a man after pleading guilty to 39 food hygiene offences.
Gent Jakupi of New Park St, Devizes and Andover Road, Ludgershall, had previously pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates Court on Friday, October 8th, 2021.
The case came to light following an investigation by environmental health officers from Wiltshire Council’s food and safety team.
Environmental health officers, supported by Wiltshire Police and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), raided two hand car washing businesses in October and November 2020.
UK court case
The charges related to the “filthy conditions” they found and the “illicit manner” in which he carried out meat cutting.
These raids led to emergency closures executed by Wiltshire Council officers, who described the operations as “some of the most shocking” that they have encountered.
The defendant initially denied cutting meat during the first raid in Devizes.
He told officers he was using the bandsaw present to cut wood, despite visible meat debris on the machine.
He suggested this was the first time he had carried out the activity.
CCTV footage they seized during the raid evidenced that he carried out “unhygienic” meat cutting for “several” weeks.
They closed the business and seized meat during the initial raid.
They also provided “clear” advice to the defendant of his obligation to obtain FSA approval for any future meat cutting operation.
Unauthorised surveillance revealed Jakupi had moved the activity to his Ludgershall site without the necessary permissions or hygiene precautions, resulting in the necessity for the second search.
The judge who oversaw the case said:
“It was a litany of offending over a prolonged period causing public health risks with the potential for fatal consequences, and it was an intentional and flagrant breach of the law.”
The court heard that the “extensive” number of food offences committed by the defendant had the potential to put consumers and their families at “serious” risk.
Wiltshire Council officers successfully secured a prohibition order to prevent him from running any food businesses.
Steve Smith, Head of Outreach and Prevention, National Food Crime Agency said:
“The NFCU are pleased to have supported Wiltshire’s food officers with their investigation.”
“This has meant that the significant food safety risks posed to consumers by the defendant’s activity.”
It quickly identified, traced, and meat removed meat for sale across the UK.
“As a result of this collaborative work, the Food Standards Agency issued a FAFA notice to local authorities to ensure that meat already sold was recalled.”
UK court case: ‘One of the worst’
Cllr Ashley O’Neill, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Protection, said:
“I am pleased that we were able to pursue a conviction in this case.”
“It was one of the worst cases that our food and safety team have dealt with. The defendant concerned was putting the public at serious risk.”
“I would like to thank our Food and Safety team for their hard work.”
She said the council hopes that this sentence acts as a warning to others.
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