Pensioners make Egg-spert criminals
It’s no yolk, a pensioner couple in Dorset have been fined £300 each and ordered to pay costs of £1,178 after buying a loads of battery farmed eggs and selling them as if they were free-range eggs from their back garden. A member of the public noticed the couple suddenly had a lot more eggs for sale but had no more hens. This concerned citizen put two and two together and reported them to Trading Standards, who decided to prosecute.
Stephen and Anne Hobbs, aged 65 and 66 respectively, poached bought 12,000 eggs from a battery farm, removed the producer code stamped on the eggs, and the resold them as free-range garden hen’s eggs. They were charging £2.20 a dozen for the eggs, which had cost them £1.30 to buy.
The couple originally claimed they had done no wrong as they did not specifically advertise the eggs as free range; however the court ruled this was implied by the fact that they sold the eggs next to free-roaming hens and that they deliberately removed the battery producers-code.
The pensioners pleaded guilty to the charges at Bournemouth Crown court, claiming that they had only done it as a last resort after their hens stopped laying, and they hadn’t even made any money, as the £9,000 profit was spent on chicken feed. That’s a lot of chicken feed.
Ivan Hancock, of Dorset County Council's trading standards department, said in a statement that the reason this case was worth prosecuting is the importance of people knowing the provenance of their food - which has been at the forefront of consumers' minds since the horse meat scandal.
He said: "Many consumers choose to buy from local outlets to support local producers or particular methods of farming or production. Anyone misleading customers undermines that choice and abuses the trust consumers place on local food suppliers."
What a cracking result.