Man jailed for cutting meat at car wash
A Devizes man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for 39 food hygiene offences after he was found to be running a meat cutting operation from hand car washing premises.
Gent Jakupi pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates Court following an investigation by environmental health officers from Wiltshire Council’s Food and Safety team. The charges related to the ‘filthy conditions found and the illicit manner in which meat cutting was being carried out’.
Supported by Wiltshire Police and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), environmental health officers raided Jakupi’s two car washing businesses in October and November 2020. Officers described the operations as some of the most shocking that they’ve encountered.
After the initial raid at a Devizes premises, an emergency closure was executed by Wiltshire Council officers and meat was seized. The defendant initially denied that he had been cutting meat, despite meat debris being visible on a bandsaw and CCTV footage showed that he had been carrying out the operation for several weeks.
Despite being reminded of his obligation to obtain FSA approval for any future meat cutting operation, authorised surveillance revealed that Jakupi had moved the cutting activity to his Ludgershall site without the necessary permissions or hygiene precautions. This resulted in a second search being carried out.
Cllr Ashley O’Neill, Wiltshire Council 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.
“I would like to thank our Food and Safety team for their hard work, and we hope that this sentence acts as a warning to others that this dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Food safety risks “quickly identified”
Steve Smith, head of outreach and prevention at the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) 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 and online sales across the UK were quickly identified, traced, and meat removed from sale. 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.
“The extensive number of food offences committed by the defendant had the potential to put consumers and their families at serious risk and this further highlights the importance of working with our partners and local authorities to ensure food is safe and what it says it is.”