The woman named as Ms Zaina Hussain was found solely responsible by the court, Bakers Basco said, the other two defendants were her fiancé Mr Ansari and her father Mr Jahangir Hussain.
The court heard that both Ms Hussain and Mr Ansari had fled the country after police involvement, and both still remain at large.
District Judge Griffith said: “It is clear that I have been satisfied that the second defendant has operated an illegal plastic recycling operation on a fairly large scale to the detriment of the Claimant. I am concerned she may continue to operate at a different location and therefore, it is appropriate for an order to be made delivering up possession of the Claimant’s equipment.”
In a statement yesterday (9 November) Bakers Basco outlined that suspicions aroused in 2021, when it was alerted via GPS tracking units embedded in its equipment that stolen bread trays and wheeled dollies were being deposited at the premises, Bisma Storage & Recovery.
The company added that police involvement was needed once there were also calls about illegal firearms on the site.
In November 2021, it was established that an illegal, unregulated plastic chipping operation was in play, with 310 sets of wheeled dollies and 198 baskets (with a combined value of close to £10,000) found waiting to be chipped, but were able to be recovered. In addition, a significant quantity of destroyed equipment remained on site, beyond re-use and repair.
Based on the scale of the remaining dollies, it was calculated that between 2500-7500 plastic bread trays and at least 40 sets of wheeled dollies had been previously received (and already destroyed).
Bakers Basco said outlined that “at a recent county court judgement”, the first defendant, Mr Jahangir Hussain, denied all knowledge of the illegal operation, asserting that his daughter, the second defendant Ms Zaina Hussain and prospective son-in-law Mr Ansari fled the country after police involvement – and both remain at large. He accepted that an illegal chipping operation was in evidence.
According to the statement from Bakers Basco, district judge Griffiths took the view that Ms Zaina Hussain was solely responsible for the illegal chipping operation.
As a result of the judgement, Bakers Basco has been awarded £47,591.86 in legal costs and expenses, as well as special and general damages for its stolen equipment, to be paid by the defendant. An injunction was also awarded, restraining Ms Zaina Hussain for an indefinite period from having any dealings with Bakers Basco’s equipment and an ongoing duty to deliver up any of Bakers Basco’s equipment coming into her possession in the future.
Stacey Brown, national investigations manager at Bakers Basco, said: “It can interrupt the supply chain, delivering bread goods to supermarkets and ultimately the consumer – and can have an impact on the price of a loaf of bread in your stores. I hope this case will serve to act as a deterrent to those parties who are tempted to engage in such illegal activity. Our equipment is designed to have a productive 8 year life cycle.
“If equipment is stolen, misappropriated and/or destroyed, it creates an unnecessary, avoidable carbon footprint to remedy the situation. Fresh plastic has to be sourced, the replacement bread trays and wheeled dollies manufactured and then re-integrated into the distribution network. That is wholly avoidable if offending third parties simply behaved themselves.”
Bakers Basco claimed around 450 formal legal cases have been undertaken as a consequence of its investigations
In 2017, the owner of a Shropshire plastics recycling site was ordered to pay £6,438.45 after a ‘substantial’ amount of stolen bakery equipment was tracked to the site (see letsrecycle.com story).