Two Nottinghamshire businessmen have received a combined suspended prison sentence of three years and seven months and 380 hours of unpaid work for selling EU sourced bacon products and claiming they were free range and locally produced.
William Smith, 41 of Park Farm Cottage in Kneesall, pleaded guilty to five fraud offences dating from April 2012 to February 2015, and his father Andrew Smith, 65 of Old Hall Farm, Newark, pleaded guilty to one fraud offence dating to 1 June 2013.
William received a 19-month sentence suspended for two years, 180 hours unpaid work and £15,000 costs, and Andrew was given a two-year sentence suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work and costs of £5,000.
Father and son run a company called Barn Bacon Limited and falsely claimed that their bacon products were British and free range, often claiming that these products came from animals reared on their farm in Kneesall.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team were first made aware of the company’s false claims in 2014 and found that one of their main suppliers since 2011 sourced their bacon from the EU – namely Germany, Poland and Denmark.
This legitimate supplier was unaware that their products were being repackaged and falsely labelled as British produce by Barn Bacon.
The case was heard at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday (Monday 24 April) and many of the offences involved selling their misleading bacon products at various markets in Nottinghamshire including Southwell Market and the Collingham Show.
The misleading claims also enabled the company to hold pitches at the annual Shambala Festival in Northampton where event organisers only allow applications from traders who sell free range, home produced products.
Furthermore, their claims also allowed the company to have a stand at the annual Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire where organisers insist on traders selling high-quality products, including home produced and free range products.
Claudine White, Trading Standards Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This company’s blatant false claims have allowed it to sell their bacon products at a higher price than would be expected for standard products and gave it access to pitches at festivals to the detriment of legitimate traders.
“The judge said the pair behaved in a thoroughly dishonest manner and their deceit was persistent and sophisticated.
“This prosecution sends a strong warning out to traders carrying out misleading practices that they will be brought before the courts.”