Andronicos Sideras, 55, was jailed for four and a half years for mixing the meats, applying false paperwork and selling them on, while his supplier and co-conspirator Ulrik Nielsen, 58, was sentenced to three years and six months at Inner London Crown on Monday.
A third man Alex Beech, 44, was given an 18-month sentence suspended for 12 months, following the three-week trial.
Evidence of the conspiracy was unearthed during searches of Nielsen’s Flexi Foods company offices, in Hull and Denmark – of which Beech was a UK representative – and Sideras’ Tottenham-based Dino’s and Sons, a food supply business and sausage manufacturer.
The investigation, conducted by the City of London Police at the request of the Food Standards Agency, discovered that during 2012 Nielsen and Beech were buying horsemeat from Ireland and sourcing beef from Poland, which was then delivered to Dino’s and Sons premises in Tottenham.
Here, Sideras would oversee the mixing of these different meat consignments before applying false paperwork and labels to make it look like all the meat was 100% pure beef.
Mixing in cheaper horsemeat allowed Flexi Foods to increase the profit on each consignment by approximately 40%, City of London Police said in a statement.
“This is a clear case of fraud; the fact that the case revolves around meat and the food chain makes no difference to this crime,” detective constable Stephen Briars, the officer who led the case for the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said.
‘A lie is a lie’
“A lie is a lie whatever the circumstances. These three men set out to deceive the suppliers, retailers and ultimately the consumer so that they could make more money.”
The investigation involved enquiries in Denmark, Ireland, Poland, France, Holland and Italy.
“This case has involved a real team effort with staff from the City of London Police, working closely with our partners from local authorities, the Food Standards Agency, and the food industry to gather the evidence necessary to prove this unique and challenging case,” Briars added.
The horsemeat scandal first came to light in 2013.