Maggot Pete Gets Six Years for Fowl Deed

Article excerpt

The 'founding father' of a pounds 1 million food fraud which saw unfit and diseased meat sold to hospitals, schools and leading supermarkets, was yesterday sentenced to six years imprisonment in his absence.

Peter Roberts -known in the meat trade as Maggot Pete -has been on the run in southern Europe since police uncovered his role in the six-year-long racket, in which 450 tonnes of chicken and turkey, in most cases unfit even for pets, was doctored to make it appear healthy.

The 68-year-old, who failed to appear for sentence at Nottingham Crown Court, was handed a five-year prison term after he was earlier convicted of conspiracy to defraud and a separate one-year sentence for a bail offence.

Jurors in an earlier trial had heard that he was at the head of a chain of supply which stretched from his Denby Poultry Products firm, in Derbyshire, to businesses in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Bury who supplied the produce, in many cases unwittingly, to about 600 customers across the UK.

The court was told that the food was butchered in sewage ridden and rat infested premises in Denby and driven to customers in vans crawling with insects.

Sentencing Roberts, of Francis Street, Derby, Judge Richard Benson said: 'Under the auspices of Peter Roberts the business turned into a dreadful enterprise which exploited the vulnerability of the general public. …