A factory worker has been jailed after he admitted to tampering with food products destined for Nando’s restaurants.
Garry Jones, 38, worked for Harvey & Brockless Fine Food Company, a manufacturing firm based in Evesham that produces large quantities of items for restaurants across the country, including Nando’s and The Ivy Group.
Jones had earlier pleaded guilty to contaminating goods that are supplied to Nando’s. None of the contaminated goods ever reached customers.
In his role at the factory, Jones worked as a ‘picker’ on the late shift, whose responsibility was to collect all of the required ingredients for the next day’s cooking.
CCTV cameras inside the factory showed Jones deliberately tampering with tubs of hummus and salad dressings when he was alone.
From October 28 2022, Harvey & Brockless were informed that dozens of their products had been contaminated with items including rubber gloves, plastic bags and metal ring pulls.
Following an internal investigation of the affected products, which found other boxes had also been tampered with, the firm determined an employee must have been behind the contamination and the police were contacted.
Harvey & Brockless’s products go through a metal detector before leaving the kitchen area, meaning they could not have been tampered with during the production process and must have been contaminated in the storage area of the factory.
Jones raised further alarm when footage showed him mixing an unknown substance into raw ingredients that were to be prepared for production the following day.
He was arrested on 10 November and questioned by West Midlands Police, where he later admitted during his police interview to combining fish sauce with soy sauce on one occasion.
Mehree Kamranfar, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said: “This was an extremely disturbing case that could have had far-reaching implications had the defendant not been caught.
“Jones knowingly and maliciously contaminated food products that were going to be distributed to some of the most popular high street restaurants across the country.
“The cross-contamination caused alarm both within the company and externally, as Jones’s utter disregard, particularly in mixing fish sauce with raw ingredients, could have threatened serious harm to those with allergies.
“In addition, sabotaging the food products supplied by Harvey & Brockless not only cost the firm thousands of pounds, it also threatened to destroy the company’s reputation.
“When faced with the overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution team Jones pleaded guilty to both charges. I want to thank West Midlands Police and the prosecution team for building the strongest possible case, which saw him convicted and today sentenced.”
Jones also admitted a separate charge of burglary, after he was found to have broken into a colleague’s house through a window and stolen a pink hairbrush.
Garry Jones was charged with contaminating goods contrary to section 38(1) of the Public Order Act 1986 and burglary contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Theft Act 1968 and was sentenced to 42 months imprisonment following a hearing at Worcester Crown Court.