Humberside

Bogus 'halal' meat traders sold food in West Yorkshire

Zulfiqar Alam
Image caption Zulfiqar Alam was found guilty of defrauding food wholesalers

Two men jailed for defrauding food firms also falsely passed off meat as halal, say West Yorkshire police.

Yakub Moosa Yusuf of Warley Road, Bradford, and Zulfiqar Alam, of Southgate Avenue, Hounslow, west London, were jailed for 18 month and three years respectively.

A third man, Abdul Shakoor Yaqoob, of Broomer Street, Dewsbury, was given a 12 month community order.

Yusuf and Yaqoob admitted the offences. Alam had pleaded not guilty.

The cases were heard at Leeds Crown Court.

The conspiracy centred around legitimate business names that were used by the men between September 2006 and September 2009, said West Yorkshire Police.

Over £200,000 worth of food and machinery was obtained by the gang purporting to be from one of the legitimate companies.

They would purchase food and equipment over the phone and fax forged bank deposit slips stating that cash deposits had been paid into a targeted company's account.

They also paid with cheques that subsequently bounced.

The ordered goods had already been released, so firms were cheated out of their goods and payment.

Quantities of meat, poultry and fish were transported in non-refrigerated vans and subsequently sold onto unsuspecting takeaways and restaurants across West Yorkshire.

On some occasions the meat was passed off as halal.

PC Liz Pharaoh said: "Yusuf and Alam were the orchestrators of this conspiracy and both distanced themselves from these offences ordering Yaqoob and unsuspecting individuals to act for them.

"My sympathies lie with the many companies who have lost a great deal of money over the years and as a result the jobs of honest hard-working people have been lost or put in jeopardy in these difficult times."

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