OAP poisoned police with sandwiches
Published 08/12/2010 | 11:50
A pensioner whose sandwiches poisoned 47 police officers has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to obey a one-month night-time curfew.
Food safety officials said 70-year-old Muriel Morris received a four-month jail term, suspended for a year, and was ordered to pay £16,482.70p in costs.
Birmingham City Council, which prosecuted Morris for four breaches of food hygiene law, launched an investigation into the poisoning outbreak after nine officers were taken to hospital during an English Defence League demonstration near New Street station in July 2009.
The city's magistrates' court heard that tests conducted on the sandwiches established they had been provided by Morris, of Dorrington Green, Great Barr, Birmingham.
Morris pleaded guilty to four offences relating to the Meal Machine cafe in Nechells, which she no longer runs.
An investigation by the council's food safety team established that officers were given sandwiches provided by Meal Machine at three briefings during the EDL protest and a counter-demonstration.
A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed that 47 officers experienced the effects of sickness, with several requiring hospital treatment for dehydration.
"Contingency planning measures were implemented to ensure that normal policing business could continue as the protest came to an end," the spokesman said.
Commenting on the prosecution, Neil Eustace, chairman of Birmingham's Public Protection Committee, said officers had been left extremely ill by the serious offences.
"Environmental health officers were rightly appalled by the lack of regard for the health of customers shown by Ms Morris and moved quickly to shut the premises," he said.