Shropshire Star

Market traders avoid jail sentence

Company directors who sold food at markets across Wales and operated out of filthy premises with mould on walls and discarded food covered in maggots have avoided a prison sentence.

Powys council investigation

Family-run Marley Cwmgors Food Limited’s packaging and preparation unit also had no hand-washing facilities while work surfaces, sinks, floors and equipment were all dirty and there was a lack of proper refrigeration and storage, inspectors found.

The company, which sold at markets in Newtown, Welshpool, Llandrindod Wells and Machynlleth, sold out of date food without proper labelling.

The business was based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire , and was a regular trader at markets in Neath Port Talbot, Powys, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire.

The company was fined £3,000 by Swansea Crown Court, which is on top of a £9,000 fine they were given after a previous Powys County Council investigation.

Robert Hodges Senior was made the subject of an 18-month community order and a 9pm to 6am nightly curfew for the next 30 days.

Judith Hodges was also made the subject of an 18-month community order, and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Hodges Junior was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

The trio were also made the subject of life-long prohibition orders banning them from participating in the management of any food business.

In Swansea Crown Court this week, Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said authorities had raised concerns about the firm and support had been offered to help it comply with regulations, but these were ignored.

In August 2017, Neath Port Talbot Council visited the firm's packing and preparation unit, described as "absolutely filthy”.

Hodges, 59, pleaded guilty to five offences, as had his wife, 57-year-old Judith Elizabeth Hodges. Their 29-year-old son, also called Robert Hodges, pleaded guilty to 15 offences.

The court heard the firm was no longer trading and following the end of the prosecution Companies House will seek to formally wind up the business.

Tom Scapens, for the defendants, said the parents had run the business successfully for some 30 years before their son took over.