A North Devon butcher has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after pleading guilty to food safety and hygiene offences.

David Gratton, 44, of Shirwell pleaded guilty to seven offences at the North and East Devon Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how environmental health officers visited land at Shirwell on May 10, 2017 and found 10 skinned deer carcasses hanging in a trailer.

Mr Gratton stated that he had skinned the carcasses and was intending to cut them up, with a view to distributing the meat to a friend.

The processing of the carcasses, however, had taken place in unhygienic conditions, with no facilities being available for the cleaning of hands, utensils and equipment, and insufficient evidence as to the traceability of the carcasses had been provided.

He was fined £600, and ordered to pay £2,500 towards the costs of the prosecution.

Lead member for public health and protection, Councillor Brian Moores said: “Food law lays down basic cleanliness, structural and hygiene standards for food businesses to help keep customers safe and healthy.

“I hope that this prosecution will send a clear message to local food businesses of the importance of preparing food safely and adhering to food safety management systems which all food businesses must have in place.

“Our main priority as the local food authority is to protect the consumer and food hygiene breaches of this type will not be tolerated.”

Food hygiene issues can be reported by emailing customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.