Gent Jakupi, formerly of New Park St, Devizes and Andover Road, Ludgershall, pleaded guilty to 39 food hygiene offences and was given a six-month custodial sentence.
The prosecution followed raids by Wiltshire Council’s Food and Safety Team on Jakupi’s elicit meat butchery and delivery business operating from hand car wash premises in October and November 2020.
A national food alert was issued with the help of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) warning that meat that had already been supplied was unfit for consumption. In addition, a total of 5.1 tonnes of meat was seized from his premises and condemned for destruction.
Crime Unit investigation
An investigation conducted by the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit on behalf of the council concluded that Jakupi had gained significant financial benefit from his offending and found he had made £154,342.62 from his criminal conduct – £3,500 was available for confiscation.
Jakupi was ordered to pay back the money within three months or face a default prison term of three months in addition to his original sentence.
Senior financial investigator Yvonne Barwani of the National Food Crime unit, who conducted the Proceeds of Crime investigation for the Council, said Jakupi’s conviction was a “satisfying result” that demonstrated food crime didn’t pay.
“This investigation and subsequent prosecution also provide a good example of organisations working closely together to ensure that consumers are protected from illegal activity,” said Barwani.
Customers and families at risk
Wiltshire Council described Jakupi’s operation as one of the worst cases its Food and Safety team had ever dealt with and that the defendant had put consumers and their families at risk.
Cllr Ian Blair Pilling, cabinet member for Public Protection, added; "I am pleased that in addition to the original conviction and custodial sentence, Mr Jakupi has been ordered to pay back his ill-gotten gains.
“I hope that this will act as a warning to others that this dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated in Wiltshire and that they will not prosper from it.”
Meanwhile, Banham Poultry (2018) Ltd was fined £300,000 for failing to stop odour pollution from its slaughterhouse that affected the lives of people living and working in and near Attleborough, Norfolk.