Bread basket case costs poultry companies thousands

Two poultry firms face paying £50,000 in costs and charges after using bread baskets and other equipment from another company without permission. 

Barnsley County Court has ordered Al-Ummah Halal Poultry Ltd of Barnsley and Ijaz Halal Poultry Ltd of Bradford to collectively pay nearly £20,000 in damages and costs. The penalty was for the two businesses having used bakery equipment company Bakers Basco’s bread baskets and other equipment without permission to transport their products.

Both firms were made the subject of indefinite restraining injunctions to prevent them from converting such equipment for their own uses in the future.

Unusually, District Judge Branchflower also ordered that Bakers Basco be given the ongoing right to inspect both companies’ premises without advance warning to check for future equipment misuse.

Al-Ummah Halal Poultry was ordered to pay £15,716 in damages and costs, while Ijaz Halal Poultry was ordered to pay £3,500 in damages. They were also made jointly and severally liable to discharge the awarded legal costs in the absence of Al-Ummah discharging that liability.

The court hearing followed a number of occasions on which both defendants were found using the equipment, owned by Bakers Basco or its membership. The devices are designed for the sole purpose of transporting the membership’s bread and other bakery products.

Court proceedings have been issued against Al-Ummah by Bakers Basco Limited historically, over similar offences and as a consequence they had been subject to an earlier injunction that had subsequently expired. Historically, it had made payments totalling £31,806.53 in damages and costs.

Equipment belonging to Bakers Basco and its membership is clearly marked as each company’s property. Bakers Basco claimed that when it was aware that its equipment was being used without permission, a simple request to return the items was generally enough.

“Our baskets and dollies are designed for one sole purpose and that is to transport bread safely, cost-effectively and in an environmentally-friendly way,” said Steve Millward, general manager at Bakers Basco.

“When people divert them for their own use, it not only has a knock-on effect on the bakers that pay to license them but also on retailers and, at the end of the day, Joe Public, all of whom end up footing the bill for the actions of a small minority.”

Bakers Basco said it was set up to manage and license a pool of four million bread baskets and associated wheeled dollies for the use of bakers. That allowed for sharing costs, common design to optimise space in delivery vehicles (hence reducing ‘food miles’) and less waste from disposable packaging ending up in landfill.

About 25 bakeries, ranging from small to very large, pay a licence fee to use the equipment.

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