Tesco blackmail plot: Nigel Wright jailed for 14 years


image copyrightHertfordshire Constabulary

image captionNigel Wright was caught on CCTV at Tesco in Lockerbie

A farmer who laced baby food with metal shards in an attempt to blackmail Tesco has been jailed for 14 years.

Nigel Wright, 45, of Osgodby, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, contaminated jars of Heinz baby food and placed them on supermarket shelves.

He then wrote to Tesco threatening that babies would be seriously or fatally injured unless he was paid £1.4m.

Wright was found guilty in August of three counts of blackmail and two charges of contaminating goods.

No babies were harmed but the metal was spotted by two mothers who were only moments away from feeding their children.

Police said an urgent recall of baby food led to 42,000 jars being recovered. There was no evidence that further jars had been tampered with.

The jury at the Old Bailey heard Wright demanded Tesco pay him his ransom in the online currency Bitcoin.

image copyrightHertfordshire Constabulary

image captionNigel Wright was sentenced to a total of 14 years in jail

The sheep farmer was convicted of a further charge of blackmail for demanding £150,000 worth of Bitcoin from a driver with whom he had a road rage row.

He was sentenced to 11 years for his plot against Tesco, and a further three years to run consecutively for the road rage blackmail.

In that case, Wright sent a letter to the driver demanding Bitcoin and threatening to kill him and his wife and children if he did not comply.

‘Repulsive actions’

Judge Mr Justice Warby said: “You were under no pressure from others, or from circumstances.

“It is not as if you had – for instance – a legitimate grievance against Tesco, nor can any other explanation easily be identified for engaging in this series of repulsive actions, apart from greed.”

Hertfordshire Police, who led the investigation, said Wright claimed he had been forced to carry out the baby food plot by travellers who were threatening him, but had no evidence of this.

Det Insp Lucy Thomson said: “Wright is a dangerous offender who gave no thought to the babies he could have harmed during his callous pursuit of money.”

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