A business man who fled Britain after supplying the food chain with infested meat has been imprisoned after a Europe-wide hunt.
A business man who fled Britain after supplying the food chain with infested meat has been imprisoned after a Europe-wide hunt. He is Peter Roberts, aged 73, nicknamed Maggot Pete. He had escaped to a life of luxury, relaxing in a villa with a swimming pool, after master-minding the biggest-ever fraud of its kind.
He supplied supermarkets, schools, old people’s homes, and hospitals with chicken and turkey “fit only to be made into pet food or fertilizer”, according to the Meat Trades Journal (31 August 2007). Dangerously substandard meat was churned out by his company Denby Poultry Products of Denby, near Derby. “Its run-down factory was infested with rats and frequently flooded by sewage and was known by disgusted locals as ‘the knacker’s yard”.
Four years ago, after a huge fraud trial, costing millions of pounds, Roberts was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, but he promptly skipped bail and was only found 2 weeks ago, working in northern Cyprus at a car-hire firm. He was deported back to the UK and on 22 August at Derby Crown Court he was sentenced to a further year’s jail on top of the 5-year term he received in his absence at his trial.
Some of the poultry handled in “the knacker’s yard” at Denby had been branded high-risk waste and should have been incinerated or turned into fertilizer. Other batches had been rated low-risk but, by law, should only have been used as pet food. The trial heard how the exact amount of illicit poultry that reached outlets such as supermarkets and well-known multiples was not known, but a jury was told that the illegal supply went on for 6 years, resulting in “enormous profits” from a turnover involving “many hundreds of pounds”. Ben Nolan QC, prosecuting, said: “The victims were the companies, firms, and consumers who bought poultry, believing it to be fit for human consumption, when in fact it was condemned meat”.