Halifax man on trial over illegal meat cutting plant

A Halifax man has gone on trial accused of running an illegal and unhygienic meat cutting plant.

A jury heard this afternoon (Monday) how officers from the Food Standards Agency, Bradford Council and the immigration service raided an industrial unit in Bowling Back Lane, Bradford, in September 2013 after suspicions were raised about men dressed in butchers’ clothing working at the premises.

Prosecutor Howard Shaw told Bradford Crown Court that they found “numerous” hygiene breaches at the unit which he said was being operated as an unlawful meat cutting plant in “complete disregard” for food safety principles.

Majid Zaman. 34, of Parkinson Lane, Halifax, has denied running the illegal plant as well as a series of other allegations under food safety regulations.

Zaman, who runs Halifax-based Shariah Foods, told investigators that he had sub-let the premises to another man, but Mr Shaw alleged that the defendant had been using a false name to hide his involvement.

Mr Shaw alleged that Zaman had arranged for animal waste to be removed from the industrial unit and highlighted the fact that workers at the premises had his mobile number.

The court heard that during August 2013 more than 100 large wheelie bins containing animal waste was collected from the unit on 20 days.

“This was a fairly sizeable operation,” said Mr Shaw.

Mr Shaw said when the unit was raided it was found to be dirty and in a poor state of repair.

The rear of the unit was also being used for a refridgerator repair business.

Mr Shaw said there was no documentation relating to where meat came from and where it was supplied to as required under traceability regulations.

Following the raid an emergency prohibition notice was served preventing the use of the premises for any food business and all the meat seized was later certified as unfit for human consumption and destroyed.

Mr Shaw during ensuing investigation documentation was submitted to suggest that Zaman had sub-let the unit, but he alleged that it was just a sham.

“The prosecution say the sub-let was pure fiction to try to hide his involvement,” said Mr Shaw.

The trial continues.