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Two jailed and another sentenced for fraudulently adding horsemeat to the food chain

  • Judge describes case as "a web of intrigue" as horsemeat fraudsters sentenced at Inner London Crown Court following three week trial
  • Sideras convicted of adding horsemeat into beef destined for the human food chain
  • Result follows investigation by the City of London Police and the Food Standards Agency

Today (Monday 31 July 2017) Andronicos Sideras, 55 of Southgate, London has been sentenced to four and a half years for conspiracy to defraud with a ban from being a company director for 10 years after he was convicted of adding horsemeat into beef destined for the human food chain. The verdict has been reached following a three week trial at Inner London Crown Court.


Ulrik Nielsen, 58  of Gentofte, Denmark, has been given three and a half years custodial with a ban from being a director for 10 years.


Alex Beech, 44 of Sutton on Hull, Humberside has been given an 18 month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with a ban from being a director for five years and 120 hours community service.

 

In 2013 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) asked the City of London Police to investigate.  The investigation centred around meat trading company Flexi Foods, with UK offices in Hull, and was owned by Ulrik Nielsen based in Denmark. Alex Beech was the UK representative of the company. Flexi Foods passed numerous consignments of meat through Andronicos Sideras’ company, Dino’s and Sons based in Tottenham, a food supply company and sausage manufacturer.

 

Alex Beech was arrested at the Flexi Foods offices in Hull in July 2013. Ulrik Nielsen was later detained in Denmark, and then attended the UK for police interviews in Hull.

During searches of the Flexi Foods company offices, both in Hull and Denmark, emails and other documents were uncovered evidencing the conspiracy to deliberately introduce horsemeat into the food chain in order to increase company profits. Other material evidence was also seized at Dino’s and Son’s premises in London.

 

In July 2013 Andronicos Sideras of Dino’s and Sons was also arrested. His fingerprints were later found on pallet labels attached to a consignment of mixed horse and beef meat detained in Northern Ireland. These pallet notes were deliberately altered to ensure that anyone checking the containment thought it was 100% beef, when in fact tests showed it was approximately 30% horse. Other loads had replicated this mixing pattern between July and November 2012.

 

The complex investigation involved enquiries in Denmark, Ireland, Poland, France, Holland and Italy. Officers also sought advice from all sectors of the food industry from farming and distribution through to slaughter and wholesalers.  The investigation discovered that during 2012 Nielsen and Beech were buying horsemeat from Ireland and sourcing beef from Poland. This meat was then all delivered to Dino’s and Sons premises in Tottenham. Here Sideras would oversee the mixing of these different meat consignments, and would then apply false paperwork and labels to make it look like all the meat was 100% pure beef. The disguised products would then be sold on as beef without the buyer being aware of any horse meat having been introduced.

 

Mixing in cheaper horsemeat to the beef allowed Flexi Foods to increase the profit on each consignment by approximately 40%. The type of meat in question is known as “trimming” and is used in products such as minced meat, sausages, pies and ready meals.

 

On the 26 August 2016 Sideras, Beech and Nielsen were charged with conspiracy to defraud

 

Detective Constable Stephen Briars,  the officer who led the case for  the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad said:

 

“This is a clear case of fraud; the fact that the case revolves around meat and the food chain makes no difference to this crime.  A lie is a lie whatever the circumstances.

 

“These three men set out to deceive the suppliers, retailers and ultimately the consumer so that they could make more money.

 

“This case has involved a real team effort with staff from the City of London Police, working closely with our partners from local authorities, the Food Standards Agency, and the food industry to gather the evidence necessary to prove this unique and challenging case.”

 

 


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