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Observer staff reporter


The Jamaica Constabulary Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit on Saturday arrested four men and shut down an illegal slaughterhouse and meat shop in Seivright Gardens, St Andrew in an operation that began in St Thomas.

The cops made the praedial larceny bust after acting on information which led them to trail three men in a vehicle transporting the carcasses of three stolen goats and a cow from Belvedere in St Thomas for approximately 50 miles to the meat shop on Cling Cling Avenue.

Dirty meat

Dirty meat

“Our information is that this address on Cling Cling Avenue is where a lot of the stolen meat from the rural parishes — places like St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth, St Ann — is carried because this address is one of the hubs where these stolen animals are taken in the Corporate Area and are cleaned up and then distributed to meat shops, restaurants and supermarkets,” Sergeant Damian Harry, who is assigned to the unit, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

He said that when the vehicle got to the premises at Cling Cling Avenue, the men were observed unloading the carcasses of the stolen animals, at which point the police intercepted.

Five men were seen at the location. However, one escaped.

“Three men were in the vehicle. The other two men lived at the location and were there to receive the stolen animals,” Sergeant Harry explained.

uncovered an illegal slaughterhouse, a meat shop, which contained four refrigerators with over 2,000 pounds of “uninspected meat”, as well as 22 live goats that the police believe were stolen.

“The Kingston and St Andrew Health Department was contacted. They came and did the necessary inspections. On conclusion of that process it was determined by the public health personnel that the meat was unfit for consumption and it was denatured and seized,” he said, adding that the carcasses of the stolen animals were ordered burnt.

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He explained that to prevent people from selling and consuming the unfit meat, the health department employs the denaturing process wherein “they throw some sort of solvent on the meat and that will ensure that it can’t be sold because it will have a particular color and odor”.

The sergeant encouraged the public to be cautious when purchasing meat and agricultural produce and urged people to only purchase from reputable sources.

“The condition of the place that this activity was being carried out was like a cesspool. It was dirty, it was mucky, it was muddy, and it was smelly. You can imagine the stench of the goat mixed with the mud, because the area is just wet and soppy because of what they do around there, mixed with the carcasses of the stolen animals,” he said with disgust. “It was very dirty to say the least.”

“We also say to the public that you report to the police all cases of farm theft and all suspicious-looking activities. Once you observe something that looks suspicious, it’s a matter for the police,” Harry said.

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According to Harry, the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit will be focusing its efforts on operation compliance to stem the increased level of praedial theft in St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth, St Ann, St Thomas and St Mary.

Sergeant Harry also told the Observer that the men will be charged with larceny of cattle, receiving stolen property, butchering without a licence, selling unfit food, selling uninspected meat and operating without a food handler’s permit.

Praedial larceny is estimated to cost Jamaican farmers up to $6 billion annually. There are proposed amendments to the Agricultural Produce and the Praedial Larceny (Prevention) Acts to include an increase in fines from $250,000 to $3 million; expansion of the definition for praedial larceny; and simplifying the procedures for registering and licensing all handlers of agricultural produce.

Two weeks ago, the police reported that 83 suspected praedial larcenists were arrested over the period January to July this year, compared to 23 for the corresponding period in 2016.

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