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Dirty practices closes butcher's shop

PUBLISHED: 23:01 29 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

A STOWMARKET butcher has been ordered to pay £2,400 after health inspectors found meat two years out of date, mice droppings and woodlice at his shop.

A court heard how the butcher of 19 years used the same machinery to mince dog food and meat on sale to customers.

A STOWMARKET butcher has been ordered to pay £2,400 after health inspectors found meat two years out of date, mice droppings and woodlice at his shop.

A court heard how the butcher of 19 years used the same machinery to mince dog food and meat on sale to customers.

Richard Shave, 38, who ran the Butcher's Basket, in Wolsey Road, Stowmarket, appeared before Sudbury magistrates after admitting eight charges of breaching the 1990 Food and Safety Act.

As a result of the "dirty" discoveries, Shave has closed his business with debts of £50,000.

The court heard how officials from Mid Suffolk District Council visited the store on October 25, 2000 and were "shocked" by what they saw. As a result the authority refused to grant Shave a butcher's licence.

Richard Wood, prosecuting on behalf of the authority, said there had been a total breakdown in the implementation and maintenance of safety procedures at the shop.

He said during the inspection of the premises council officers found Cornish pasties up to five months out of date and a bacon joint which was two years past its sell by date. Out of date pate and unlabelled sausages were also found in chillers.

Food debris and waste were found piled together with empty tubs, jam jars and boxes, and the shop floors, shelves and equipment were rusty and dirty.

Mice droppings and woodlice were clearly visible in the store and packaging showed signs of being nibbled by animals. Dog food was also kept within close proximity to food sold to the public and the same mincing machine was used to prepare the dog food and meat on sale to customers.

Mr Wood said Shave had "put customers at very serious risk of illness by the procedure put in place in the shop."

Defending, Andrew Shaw, said his client had lost his business and was left with debts of £48,210 and had suffered enough.

"No member of the public ever suffered any ill health or risk as a result of this prosecution.

"The shop was not run dangerously, but with old-fashioned methods.

"Mr Shave has gone 19 years as a butcher without any customer falling ill as a result. Out of date food was never put on sale to the public and the mixer was thoroughly cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleaner," he added.

Shave, who now earns £300 a week as a delivery driver, was fined a total of £1,400 and ordered to £1,000 in court costs.

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