Butcher's shop fined after apprentice lost two fingers in mincer

North Somerset Courthouse

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Mark Atherton

The former managing director of a Worle butcher's shop has been given a suspended prison sentence after an apprentice lost two fingers in a mincing machine. 

During a hearing at North Somerset Magistrates' Court on February 18, the court heard that 17-year-old apprentice Dylan Jewell-Deverson was using a mincer at Worle Village Butchers, in The Maltings, when his left hand was drawn into the machine, causing the amputation of two of his fingers to the second knuckle.  

The incident, in July 2019, occurred when the shop was run by a different owner. The building has now been taken over by MeatBox.

An investigation by North Somerset Council's food and commercial safety team found that the fixed guard on the mincer at the butchers had been forcibly removed more than a year previously, meaning Dylan's hand could be drawn into the machine.  

Charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act were brought against both the company and the managing director, Mrs Frances Bird.  

The magistrates' court was told that Mrs Bird, an accountant by profession, stated she has no practical experience in butchery, employing butchers to run the shop.  

However, from June 2018 she took a more active role in the business, working behind the counter, doing deliveries, interviewing new staff and completing business documentation including risk assessments. 

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Mrs Bird pleaded guilty and was given an 18-week custodial sentence suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to pay costs of £5,535 with a surcharge of £115. 

The butcher's shop, which is the process of liquidation, was fined £30,000, together with shared costs of £5,535 and a surcharge of £170. 

North Somerset Council's deputy leader whose portfolio includes regulatory services, Cllr Mike Bell, said: "This incident has had lifelong effects on Dylan - he can no longer pursue a career in the armed forces and suffers ongoing pain. 

"Health and safety is there for a reason, to make sure proper safeguards are in place so that incidents like this can be avoided. 

"This case demonstrates that responsibilities must be taken seriously, and if they are not, you will be held to account." 

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