Essex

Lindt Lindor chocolate sabotage woman sentenced

Lindt chocolate Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Purser contaminated chocolates bought at Asda and Wilko stores across Essex

A woman who replaced chocolates with small objects such as rubber balls, marbles and conkers has been sentenced.

Wendy Purser, 55, wrapped the objects in Lindt Lindor cellophane before returning them to shops, where they were re-shelved and sold on.

Prosecutors said she had "no apparent grievance" against the Swiss chocolatier and her motives were unclear.

She was given a 12-month suspended sentence at Basildon Crown Court.

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The judge also ordered Purser, of Little Russets in Brentwood, to undergo mental health treatment after she admitted contaminating goods with intent to cause alarm or injury.

Prosecutor Frank Ferguson said she had "put members of the public, especially children at real and serious risk of choking".

The court heard she contaminated chocolates bought from Asda and Wilko stores around Essex between 10 March and 16 May 2015.

'No blackmail demands'

Mr Ferguson said Purser and her family "do not have any connection to Lindt, or any apparent reason for a grievance against the firm".

"No blackmail demands were made either to Lindt or to the stores where she returned the chocolates," he said.

He said that contaminating food in this way is a serious matter and can carry carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.

Police found Purser had contaminated chocolates bought at:

  • Asda Living, Lakeside
  • Wilko, Brentwood
  • Waitrose, Billericay
  • Asda Eastgate, Basildon

The affected items were "quickly discovered" and no harm came to anyone, Mr Ferguson added.

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