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Last Updated:  Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Man admits cider involvement
Richard Gay
Richard Gay will be sentenced next week

A man has admitted his involvement in tampering with cider at Hereford-based cider company, HP Bulmer.

Richard Gay pleaded guilty to a charge of being in possession of materials which could be used to make it look as if the cider had been interfered with.

The 51-year-old of Weston Lane, Tyseley, Birmingham, appeared at Bristol Crown Court and admitted comitting the offence between 31 August 2001 and 5 April 2002.

Two other men have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges against HP Bulmer.

Product recall

Michael Hancocks appeared at the court on Wednesday and admitted a charge of conspiracy to defraud the company by introducing yeast-based contaminants into Bulmer products.

The 63-year-old, of Hafod Road, Hereford, pleaded guilty on the basis of his defence statement, in which he says he "merely wanted to achieve a degree of nuisance value" and not spoil the product that would leave Bulmers.

However the prosecution would not accept the basis of Hancock's plea, and it is the Crown's case that the object of his conspiracy was to create a product recall.

Judge John Foley is due to hear evidence from both sides relating to Hancock's involvement on Monday.

Paul Harris, of Harpersfield, Kings Caple, Hereford, pleaded guilty at a hearing in July last year to a charge of conspiracy to contaminate the products of HP Bulmer with intent to cause economic loss.

All three men are due to be sentenced next Wednesday.

HP Bulmer produces several brands of cider, including Woodpecker, Strongbow and Scrumpy Jack, and is one of the largest employers in Hereford.

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