Two men were sent to prison yesterday for their role in the 2013 horsemeat scandal which engulfed several UK supermarkets.
Andronicos Sideras, who was found to have mixed horsemeat with beef before selling it on as 100 per cent beef, was sentenced to four and a half years.
His supplier, Ulrich Nielsen, who delivered the horsemeat and beef from Europe, was given three and a half years.
A third man, Alex Ostler-Beech, described as Nielsen’s ‘right-hand man’, was given an 18-month suspended sentence for arranging the transfers and keeping accounts.
It is thought the scam, which involved about 30 tonnes of horsemeat, made the men almost £200,000.
The criminals were caught after an environmental health officer visited a meat manufacturer in Newry, Northern Ireland and found horse identification chips in supermarket ready meals.
The Food Standards Agency led the investigation before passing responsibility to the City of London police.
Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: “The sentencing today is the result of an immense effort by individuals in a multi-agency investigation and, as well as the police, I would like to highlight the key role played by local authorities in securing the conviction.
“Today’s sentences should act as a deterrent to those who think they can profit from committing food fraud.”
The convictions follow the capture of another businessman at the heart of the scandal in Belgium last month.