Two men have been jailed for introducing horse meat into the food supply chain.
Andronicos Sideras, 55, of Southgate, London, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years for conspiracy to defraud and banned from being a company director for 10 years after mixing horse meat with beef at his firm Dino’s and Sons.
Ulrik Nielsen, 58, of Gentofte, Denmark, and owner of Flexi Foods, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years and given the same company director ban. A third man, Alex Beech, 44, of Sutton on Hull, Humberside, was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours community service and a company director ban for five years.
Sideras was found guilty following a three-week trial at Inner London Crown Court while Nielsen and Beech had previously pleaded guilty.
In what the judge described as “a web of intrigue”, Flexi Foods passed numerous meat consignments through Dino’s and Sons, a food supply company and sausage maker based in Tottenham.
Beech, the UK representative of meat trading firm Flexi Foods, was arrested at its Hull offices in July 2013 and Nielsen was later detained in Denmark. During searches in Hull and Denmark emails and other documents were found revealing a conspiracy to add horse meat into the food supply chain to increase profits.
Sideras was arrested at Dino’s and Sons and his fingerprints were found on pallet labels that showed consignments contained 100% beef, when tests showed they were around 30% horse.
The police investigation found during 2012 Nielsen and Beech bought horse meat from Ireland and beef from Poland. This was delivered to Dino’s and Sons where Sideras oversaw the mixing of the two and applied false paperwork. The scheme increased profits on each consignment by around 40%.
The meat in question was “trimming”, used in products such as minced meat, sausages, pies and ready meals.
Detective Constable Stephen Briars, who led the case for the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said: “These three men set out to deceive the suppliers, retailers and ultimately the consumer so that they could make more money.”
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.