A slaughterman who broke food hygiene regulations at his farm shop abattoir and risked the health of his customers has avoided jail.
Matthew Broom ran a business in which he slaughtered animals at farms all over North and Mid Devon and cut them up before returning the meat in freezer-ready packs.
Exeter Crown Court heard he carried out the work in a ’filthy’ abattoir near Tiverton, where he also killed some animals, and which was caked in dried blood and rotting animal parts.
There was animal waste stored next to fresh meat and other body parts were burned on a bonfire outside the doors of his cutting room.
No Running hot water
Broom did not have running hot water with which to wash his hands and meat debris was found on and under his cutting boards and tools.
It also covered the walls and floors and the chiller room was found to be ‘disgusting and unhygienic’ when it was raided by inspectors from Mid Devon Council.
They seized and condemned almost a quarter or a tonne of meat and found records showing Broom had been making thousands of pounds a year for the previous five years.
He took fees of up to £120 a time for killing and cutting up beef, pigs and lamb and he also used his premises to butcher deer which he shot.
Broom, aged 40, of Cowley Moor Road, Tiverton, who ran his business at Little Esworthy Farm, Templeton, near Tiverton, admitted 16 offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations dating from 2008 to 2013.
He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 180 hours unpaid community work, and pay £2,000 costs by Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan Large at Exeter Crown Court.
Banned for life
He was banned for life from operating any food business under a Hygiene Prevention Order and told to repay his £40,000 profit within three months or face a year in jail under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
The Judge rejected Broom’s claim to have lost his entire £118,943.74 savings in gambling and said he had taken out the money in cash to try to thwart the POCA proceedings.
The judge told him:”You were slaughtering and butchering animals in a highly unhygienic way which was likely to lead to the contamination of the meat.
“The walls of your chiller were filthy and there was dried blood on every surface in the premises. The cutting room was fully equipped but filthy and unhygienic.
“Equipment was encrusted with meat; the block and surrounding areas were splattered with blood and there was no cleaning equipment or even hot water for you to wash your hands.
“It is clear from the expert report it was far below an acceptable standard and there was a risk to health.
“You ran your business with complete disregard for hygiene or the risk to the public and you did so for considerable profit.”
Mr Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said Broom now earns around £200 to £250 a week at an abattoir in Tiverton but is currently laid off because of lack of business.
He said he had provided a valuable service to farmers, who cannot afford to take single animals or injured cattle to a registered abattoir.
He said: ”The demand for his service was quite high. Many farmers are struggling and this is the reality of the countryside today.”