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Cutting corners costs Gloucestershire butcher Dave Tomlins £54,000

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Written by: Gloucester Citizen & Gloucestershire Echo | Posted 14 March 2017 7:56

Cutting corners costs Gloucestershire butcher Dave Tomlins £54,000

Butcher Dave Tomlins illegally supplied huge amounts of meat to London restaurants from his ‘filthy’ shop.
Gloucester Crown Court was told the 66-year-old prepared meat in conditions so “poor and unhygienic” that anyone who saw them would not have wanted to eat anything he sold.

Tomlins, of Green Lane, Hucclecote, has now closed The Country Butchers in Huntley.
He admitted seven charges of failing to keep his premises clean and one of failing to comply with an improvement notice from hygiene inspectors.

He pleaded guilty to two offences of flagrantly and dishonestly selling meat and meat products to pubs and restaurants in London without authority from the Food Standards Agency.

He was ordered to pay £54,000 in fines and costs.

Special regulations cover the transportation of meat more than 35 miles from a butchery but Tomlins did not tell inspectors he was selling hundreds of thousands of pounds worth a year, said prosecutor Bernard Thorogood.

One of his main customers was the Franco Manca pizza chain which still lists Tomlins on its website as its meat supplier and specifically refers to his hand-chopped Gloucester old spot sausages.

Mr Thorogood said Tomlins had run the business since the mid-1990s when he took over from his father.

His trade to London started in 2011 but Tomlins deliberately concealed that from the Food Standards Agency.

Investigations began in March 2015 when a hygiene inspection discovered widespread uncleanliness.

Blood was dripping down the front of a machine, the floor from there to the sausage maker was “truly filthy” and cooked and raw meats were in contact with other, risking contamination.

Mr Thorogood said: “A lavatory door was rotten and in an appalling condition. A drain cover had a pool of noxious fluid all over it.

“The plastic curtains of a walk-in chiller were covered in all sorts of animal products.

“The scales had an alarming degree of blood and fatty material on them. There were all sorts of unpleasant articles adhering to the mixing machine.”

He added: “Slugs had been in and eaten pest pellets. The glazes and marinades were near an insect killer spray, causing risk.”

Another inspection on August 5 found a bag of putrefying meat behind the freezer. The smell attracted the inspectors to it and they saw “a great many maggots” in it.

Mr Thorogood said while Tomlins had closed the business he was a 30 per cent shareholder in a new firm in Gloucester called the Old Spot Meat company. He will be training staff in butchery techniques.

Christopher Russell, defending, said: “He has been a butcher all his adult life but his business is now closed, bringing a sad and very undistinguished end to his many years of butchery. He very much regrets these offences.”

Mr Russell said there had not been a single incident of bad food and the London restaurants, continued to support his business and had no complaints.

Sentencing Tomlins, Recorder Adam Vaitalingam told him: “It seems to me that no members of the public who saw the conditions at your premises would ever have knowingly eaten food coming from that shop.

“You were cutting corners, you were flouting the rules and you were doing it for financial gain.”

He fined the Tomlins £24,000 which must be paid within a year with costs of £30,000, to pay within two years. If he fails he will be jailed for a year.


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