Illegal meat trader ordered to pay back over £150K of ill-gotten gains
A Devizes man, Gent Jakupi formerly of New Park St, Devizes and Andover Road, Ludgershall, was served with a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act and ordered to pay back over £150K by Swindon Crown Court on Monday 5 December 2022.
In December 2021, Gent Jakupi was given a six month custodial sentence after pleading guilty to 39 food hygiene offences relating to placing unfit meat on the market and other associated hygiene offences.
The initial prosecution of Gent Jakupi followed raids by Wiltshire Council's Food and Safety Team on his illicit meat butchery and delivery business operating from hand car wash premises in October and November 2020. Working with the Food Standards Agency, a national food alert was issued 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.
Following the conviction of Gent Jakupi, a Proceeds of Crime investigation was conducted by the Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit on behalf of Wiltshire Council. The investigation concluded that he had gained significant financial benefit from his offending and found to have made £154,342.62 from his criminal conduct with £3,500 currently available for confiscation. He has been ordered to pay 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 "This is a satisfying result and shows that food crime does not 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"
Cllr Ian Blair Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said; "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.
This was one of the worst cases that our Food and Safety team have dealt with and the defendant put consumers and their families at serious risk. 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.
I would also like to thank our Food and Safety team and the National Food Crime Unit of the Food Standards Agency for their hard work."