Suspended jail sentence for misuse of bakery equipment

Following a news item that we ran in MTN March 2017, issue 203, regarding a bakery in Bristol being fined for the unauthorised use of Bakers Basco equipment, the owner of Windmill Bakery in Coventry recently received a six-week suspended custodial sentence for similar offences.

At a hearing at Walsall County Court, Mr Akhlaque Ahmed, trading as Windmill Bakery, admitted three allegations of unlawfully being in the possession and use of equipment belonging to Bakers Basco.

Mr Ahmed admitted that he had again broken the terms of an earlier injunction, originally imposed in February 2013 and amended in July 2015, preventing him from using bakery baskets and dollies belonging to Bakers Basco and its membership without written permission.

Mr Ahmed was advised that should he breach the injunction again, a minimum term of six weeks imprisonment would be served, together with a further period of confinement in respect of that fresh breach.

He was also fined £3,000 to be paid to the Crown and ordered to pay £5,664.50 in damages and costs to Bakers Basco. Mr Ahmed has paid £5,000 in fines to the Crown and nearly £9,000 in damages and costs to Bakers Basco over the past year.

Bakers Basco owns and maintains over 4m bread baskets on behalf of bakeries around the UK.  Currently, around 25 bakeries are licensed to use the equipment.

Bakers Basco bread baskets and dollies are clearly marked as the company’s property. However, every year, several million pounds’ worth of its equipment, meant purely for the safe transport of bakery products, is misappropriated by third parties who have no contractual relationship with the bread manufacturers. Often, equipment is converted for other purposes, which damages it or makes it unusable for safely transporting bread.

Bakers Basco asks for them back politely at first; but it has a specialist team which tracks them down and, when all other avenues have failed, it will use the courts to reclaim them. This has been enforced in markets around the country in recent years.

Market operators and traders should be aware that illegally using licenced equipment for various purposes, such as displaying fruit and vegetables, using the baskets to prop up their display stalls and also using the baskets to display bakery items, is committing an offence under the Wrongful Interference of Goods Act (1977).