Authentic Bite has had to provide Wolverhampton County Court with a formal undertaking to stop using bread baskets belonging to Bakers Basco to transport its sandwiches. It has also been ordered to pay £6,927.55 in damages and costs.
Evidence submitted to the legal hearing included a log and an aerial satellite plot showing the movement of Bakers Basco equipment fitted with a tracking device around the defendant’s premises over a 24-day period, from the production line through despatch and then outside to the loading area.
Bakers Basco also submitted evidence of obstruction and provocative behaviour as part of its application for an injunction.
It follows on from a similar case in June, in which Bakers Basco successfully applied to the Sheriff Court in Scotland banning Glasgow-based Pine Tree Bakery from using its baskets.
4M bread baskets
The firm manages and licenses a pool of around 4M Omega bread baskets and dollies for bakery firms such as Hovis, Kingsmill and Warburtons.
It claimed that several million pounds’ worth of its bread trays and equipment were misappropriated every year.
The pooling of bread baskets allows costs to be shared, a common design that optimises space in delivery vehicles, a reduction in food miles, and a reduction in waste from disposable packaging ending up in landfill.
Authentic Bite had been caught using Bakers Basco baskets and wheeled trolleys without authorisation to transport sandwiches before. It had previously made payments totalling £1,400 in damages.
Ruling that the injunction would be in place for an indefinite term, deputy district judge Jan Markland told Authentic Bite Ltd’s director, Jarnail Singh, the consequences of failing to keep his promises included being fined, having assets seized or being sent to prison for contempt of court.
Steve Millward, general manager of Bakers Basco, said: “Our recovery team tracked a sizeable amount of our equipment being used by Authentic Bite, through old-fashioned surveillance and also the latest GPS technology.
“It was clear they had been appropriated to transport and store Authentic Bite’s own produce. Our baskets and trolleys are meant for transporting bread, and only bread, safely, cost-effectively and in an environmentally-friendly way, and should not be used without our consent or for any other purpose.”
Bakers Basco had previously initiated more than 250 court actions. Currently, it has around 20 injunctions to protect its equipment.
Millward said that the bread baskets and trolleys were clearly marked as the company’s property.
“Usually, when it becomes aware that its equipment is being used without permission, a simple request to return the items is enough,” he said.
“However, in cases where companies hold on to Bakers Basco’s property after being asked to return it, legal action is taken.”
After introducing GPS technology last year, Bakers Basco claimed to have significantly reduced bread basket losses.
It recently announced the roll-out of new tracking devices with 10-times the battery life of the previous model, allowing the company to track the movements of its equipment even more effectively.