A Swindon man who skinned and butchered wild animals in his garden has been told to close his barbecue grill business.

Ionut Adrian Apetroaie prepared and stored deer, pheasants, rabbits, and wild boar at his Marigold Close home in Haydon Wick while hanging their carcasses from a pull-up bar in an unclean area.

As part of the ‘Romeat’ business that he ran from that address without telling the local authority, he made sausages, Kofte, and burgers on-site without having any suitably hygienic areas in which to handle raw meat.

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Most of his equipment was stored in a breeze block garage alongside DIY tools and various domestic items.

Wiltshire Police joined Environmental Health officers from Swindon Borough Council in a visit to the property on October 6 and discovered the full extent of the unsanitary conditions in which he worked.

Some food had been out of temperature control since the early hours of the morning and there was no empty refrigerated storage space in which to store them. Waste and animal by-products had been put into a domestic black bin, which was against requirements.

Council officers found no food safety management systems in place which would have enabled the operator to identify the risks to food and determine appropriate controls and procedures needed to produce food safely.

Some activities considered as high risk - such as vacuum packing and smoking - had taken place without the required controls in place. Products found at the address had non-compliant labels or were not labelled at all, and the traceability information for food on-site was poor or non-existent.

Swindon Advertiser: The conditions for preparing food were described as appallingThe conditions for preparing food were described as appalling (Image: Swindon Borough Council)

The council served Mr Apetroaie a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to prevent the business operating, and officers seized between 200 and 300kg of meat, meat preparations and other food.

On Tuesday, November 14, magistrates at Swindon Magistrates Court supported this action by signing a declaration which agreed that the closure was proportionate given the circumstances.

They also granted an application to extend the closure of the defendant’s business in order to prevent further food preparation taking place there.

This closure will be in place until Environmental Health experts are satisfied that there is no longer a risk to health.

Magistrates also upheld an application for all the seized food to be condemned for destruction because it had not been produced in accordance with the hygiene requirements.

Swindon Advertiser: Carcasses were skinned and butchered on this pull-up barCarcasses were skinned and butchered on this pull-up bar (Image: Swindon Borough Council)

Mr Apetroaie did not agree with all the points raised by the council at the hearing, but did not contest the overall actions taken.

He has informed Environmental Health that he hopes to start a different lower-risk food business in the future - but only after it has been deemed compliant.

The businessman must pay the council’s legal costs of £3,854.50, which includes £626.50 relating to the seizure and destruction of the food.

A criminal investigation into the prior activities of the business is also being carried out by the council.

Councillor Jim Grant is the Cabinet Member for communities and joint working.

He said: “The conditions and practices our officers found at this individual’s home address were appalling and show a blatant disregard for the regulations which are there to ensure food is being prepared in a safe and compliant manner.

“I hope this case shows the public that if we receive reports that someone is not complying with the regulations and is potentially putting the health of people at risk, we will take action.

“If you are thinking of starting a food business, it is a legal requirement to register it with the council before you begin trading, and to ensure the business is compliant with food hygiene and food standards requirements. Further information is available on the council’s website.”