Businessman who illegally slaughtered animals and offered them to local butchers handed hefty fine

Lamb necks discovered by enviromental health officers in a walk-in chiller

Lamb necks discovered by enviromental health officers in a walk-in chiller - Credit: Archant

A business in Mepal convicted of carrying out the illegal slaughter of animals and breaching food hygiene regulations has been fined more than £1,000.

Lee Smith, of Jasmine Farm, Chatteris Road, admitted three breaches of Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and one breach of the General Food Regulations 2004 at a hearing at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.

He was fined a total of £1,025 and ordered to pay costs of £1,303.

The case began with an anonymous telephone call alleging meat was being made available locally without going through a slaughterhouse.

When the case was investigated by environmental health officers, they found that Smith had been illegally slaughtering lambs at his home - which was not an approved slaughterhouse – before supplying the meat to a local butchers’ shop.

Smith was unable to produce any documentation confirming how the meat had been produced. On further examination, the lambs were not adequately labelled nor were there systems or procedures in place to identify other businesses to which the meat may have been supplied or from.

Finally, Smith had also failed to inform East Cambridgeshire District Council and the Food Standards Agency that he had changed his food business from storing and supplying frozen meat to slaughtering live animals and supplying their meat.

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At the hearing on Thursday, September 11, magistrates told Mr Smith that food safety regulations are of paramount importance and their job is to protect the public.

Magistrates took into account that it was not a series of breaches but a single contravention when sentencing.

Liz Knox, environmental service manager at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We often get calls and tip offs from the public about the activities of businesses throughout the district which we will always investigate thoroughly.

“In this case we found an example which could have had a real impact on the health of our residents.

“While going to court is never an easy option, it demonstrates the council’s commitment to protecting public safety and our pursuit of those who break the rules. “We will continue to monitor food businesses across East Cambridgeshire and if anyone fails to keep up adequate standards - we will have no alternative but to take the appropriate enforcement action.”