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Van carrying illegally-butchered 'black market' flesh stopped in Croydon

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A van-load of illegally slaughtered meat – some still with animal fur on – was ordered to be destroyed after police stopped the driver in Croydon. Police stopped the van on April 25 and found a large consignment of illegally-produced raw meat in unrefrigerated, blood-soaked, flattened cardboard boxes in the back of the vehicle. A Food Standards Agency meat hygiene inspector identified several pieces as excess from sheep carcass. The examined flesh was also found to contain traces of vertebrae, spinal cord and spleen. All the meat is classified as 'Specified Risk Material', and should not be eaten by humans or animals. It is usually sold on the black market for human consumption. The meat is known as 'smokies' – illegally slaughtered meat that has not undergone an official inspection process. The nickname is given because flesh and fur is left on the meat, which is then scorched, resulting in a smoky appearance and smell. Police found the meat in five bin liners, and also discovered five large buckets of blood residue and cuts of liver. The council were awarded costs of £2,350.60 on Tuesday morning by Croydon magistrates, to be paid by the van's driver. A criminal prosecution is pending. Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: "This is a great result for the council's food safety team. "Working with the police, they were able to quickly identify meat that, despite being unfit for human consumption, could very probably have ended up on the plates of unsuspecting people, putting their health and safety at risk. "The court costs levied in this case send out the message that Croydon is not the place to try to sell goods that fail to meet the necessary health and safety standards."

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