AN ILLEGAL meat processing plant has been raided and shut down by the council, the Advertiser can reveal. 

The business, running from a second-hand car wash on Andover Road in Ludgershall, was supplying tonnes of meat each week across the UK. 

Officers from Wiltshire District Council stormed the property on Friday, November 27 after fears were raised over the hygiene standards of the meat carcasses.

They seized 2.4 tonnes of meat, including beef, lamb and goat meat, from the car wash.

This is the second raid of its kind in the last two months.

Environmental health officers from Wiltshire Council’s Food and Safety team first raided Devizes Hand Car Wash at 12-18 New Park Street on October 23, where they witnessed fresh meat being cut in a vehicle workshop in grossly unhygienic conditions.

The officials had seized 2.7 tonnes of meat from the unit and issued an emergency enforcement action.

Swindon Magistrates Court, which later condemned the meat unfit for human consumption, had also granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order to prohibit the activity from continuing.

However, the business operator subsequently moved the activity to the Ludgershall car wash site without making any attempt to register the activity or seek the necessary approval from the Food Standards Agency.

Assisted by a Food Standards Agency veterinary officer and Wiltshire police, the environmental health officers searched the business at 23 Andover Road on November 27. The officers found whole and part carcases being cut in poor conditions, which exposed to the risk of contamination.

The investigation also found that the meat was being cut and packed for delivery throughout the UK.

A further prohibition is in force on the meat cutting activity and the latest consignment of meat has also been condemned and destroyed.

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection said: “The conditions found at both these car wash sites have shocked our officers.

“They found that even the most basic requirements such as clean food rooms, a hot water supply, washing facilities, the control of pests and basic welfare facilities for food handlers were missing. This business has put their customers at risk.

“The need for officers to have to act in this way, not once but twice, is an extremely serious matter and we are working very closely with the Food Standards Agency on further enforcement to safeguard the public.”

The council’s investigation into these activities is ongoing.