Inept Blackmail Bid Could Have Cost Food Firm Pounds 15m

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mike Jones Western Mail

A bungling Polish blackmailer who demanded money with menaces from a meat packaging firm provided police with all the vital clues that eventually got him caught, a court heard yesterday.

Leszek Burkiewiez, 46, of Swansea, South Wales, planned a better life in Poland by demanding pounds 11,700 from Irish meat processing and packaging firm Dawn Pac.

The blundering father-of-three was jailed for four years yesterday after leaving a farcical trail of clues behind him.

Burkiewiez staged a series of photographs purportedly to highlight a chronic hygiene problem at Dawn Pac's plant, which employs up to 1,100 people during busy periods, in Cross Hands, near Carmarthen.

It included carrying mice into the plant and photographing them next to vermin poison at various locations.

Swansea Crown Court heard that he inadvertently took a picture of his shoes in the process which police were later able to trace to him.

John Hipkin, prosecuting, said Burkiewiez initially sent a letter to a director of Dawn Pac in May this year demanding that they employ a list of seven men at a salary of pounds 170 a week each.

But he made the mistake of listing himself among the seven men wanting a staff job.

The letter was sent at a time when he was working at the Dawn Pac plant but employed by a recruitment agency called CSA.

Burkiewiez sent a second letter to a company director demanding pounds 11,700 and threatening to show the bogus photograph to competitors if they failed to comply.

The court heard yesterday that the company initially took the threat so seriously it contemplated recalling stock - a move which would have cost it up to pounds 15m. …