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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Men sentenced over illegal meat trade
David Jones
Health officers raided David Jones's farm
A group of eight men involved in an illegal operation to supply meat to satisfy a food fad have been sentenced at Swansea Crown Court.

The judge heard how sheep were killed in a barn and cooked using a blow torch to create "smokies" - a west African delicacy.


Public confidence in the safety of meat is undermined, and we know after BSE that that could have a devastating effect on an already beleaguered industry

Judge Eleri Rees

The court was told how more than a hundred slaughtered sheep were discovered hanging in the shed near Lampeter and where another 200 sheep were being kept.

At an earlier hearing all of the men involved in the operation pleaded guilty to possessing meat for sale, unfit for human consumption.

Farmer David Jones, owner of the shed where the animals were killed and cooked, also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that risk material was removed from the carcasses.

The operation was discovered in November 2000 after officials, veterinary surgeons and police raided Moelfre Farm at Llanwnen.

Wider operation

At the hearing on Friday, Judge Eleri Rees warned the case could have had severe consequences.

"There must be concern for potential injury to the health of individuals," she said.

"But furthermore the wider dimension is that public confidence in the safety of meat is undermined, and we know after BSE that that could have a devastating effect on an already beleaguered industry."


They ( 'smokies') can fetch somewhere between 70 and 90 each if they are taken to London and sold

Alistair Malcolm, prosecuting

The men were arrested as part of a wider investigation into the sale of "smokies".

Meat cooked using blow-torches usually has a char grilled flavour, which is said to be a delicacy among some west African communities.

Carcasses heat-treated in this way can change hands for several hundreds of pounds.

Alistair Malcolm, prosecuting, said: "Because there is a demand for them they can fetch somewhere between 70 and 90 each if they are taken to London and sold."

Health officers fear there could be health problems associated with the meat because of the conditions in which the animals are slaughtered.

Defence barristers told the court the men had not know in advance what work they would be undertaking and had believed the meat was being prepared to be made into pet food.

At the hearing on Friday, Jones, 54, was given a 180-hour community punishment order and told to pay costs of 500.

Sixty-hour community punishment orders were to John Beddows, 35, of Tregaron, Ceredigion; John Clayton, of Nantgaredig, near Carmarthen; Trefor Williams, 33, of Llandysul, Ceredigion; and Alun Evans, 29, and his brother Richard, 31, both of Abernewrig, Lampeter.

All but Beddows and Williams were also ordered to pay costs of 100.

Malcolm Taylor, 59, of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd, 60, of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire, were each given 12-month conditional discharges.

Taylor was also ordered to pay 100 costs.


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