Nigel Wright, 45 year old Lincolnshire Farmer, has been imprisoned for 14 years after being convicted of contaminating baby food with metal and attempting to blackmail Tesco, Heinz and Cow & Gate with a £1.4 million bitcoin scheme.
In 2018, he purchased and contaminated three jars of Heinz baby food which he then placed in 2 Tesco stores and demanded bitcoin in exchange for revealing their location. Subsequently, Tesco urgently recalled 42,000 jars of the baby food, fortunately, two mothers who had purchased the contaminated jars did spot the metal moments before feeding their children.
In August 2020, Wright was found guilty at London’s Old Bailey of three counts of blackmail and two counts of product contamination. He was also convicted for an unrelated offence of blackmail linked to a traffic dispute.
In summing up His Honour Justice Warby said, “The greatest mitigation you (Wright) could have given was a guilty plea, instead you put forward an absurd and untenable case that fell apart under scrutiny. You were prepared to and did put vulnerable children at risk of serious injury. The offending caused shock, distress and expense, but mercilessly did not cause injury but that was down to luck rather than good judgement.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson of Hertfordshire Constabulary led the inquiry and added: “I hope that the lengthy sentence handed down to Wright today acts as a deterrent to anyone who thinks blackmail is a viable criminal option.” He further added, “The resources available to law enforcement to respond to threats of this nature are significant and such crimes will simply not be tolerated. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all those who played a part in bringing Wright to justice.”
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