Two men found guilty of conspiring to defraud customers have been sentenced to five years each.
Mahmudar Rohman and Kamal Rahman, who ran halal meat wholesaler Dutch Bangla Direct, were sentenced in Leicester Crown Court earlier this week.
The duo had passed off non-halal turkey meat as lamb and sold it to businesses in the region over a two-year period. It has been estimated that the deception earned Rohman and Rahman profits of over £300,000.
As well as the prison sentence, both men have been disqualified from being company directors for four years and each ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
When sentencing the men, judge Marcus Tregilgas-Davey was reported in the Leicester Mercury to have said: “You did it to make financial gain, motivated by financial greed and avarice. The meat was neither halal nor was it lamb and was distributed in the Midlands and as far north as Middlesbrough and as far south as Portsmouth.”
The judge added that many people had been affected by consuming non-halal meat. “A large number of people have eaten meat that offends their cultural and religious needs.
“I’ve heard how distressing it was from individuals who supplied non-halal meat to their long-standing customers who trusted them and having given it to their own families. The fraud, motivated by greed, has impacted upon victims financially, culturally and religiously.”
The deception was uncovered following a lengthy investigation by Leicester City Council’s trading standards team.
A spokesperson for Leicester City Council trading standards said: “The sentencing reflects the serious nature of this case and will send out a strong message that food fraud is a crime that will not be tolerated.
“We hope this provides reassurance to consumers and to the vast majority of businesses that go to great lengths to operate lawfully and in the interest of their customers.”