A Lincolnshire sheep farmer has been jailed for 14 years over a £1.4million blackmail plot involving supermarket giant Tesco, according to a report in Daily Mail.
Nigel Wright, 45, placed three jars of baby food laced with shards of metal, including broken-up blades of a craft knife and iron filings, in a bid to extort £1.4 million worth of Bitcoin from the supermarket chain – who he claimed had been underpaying milk farmers.
Wright planted tampered jars of Heinz and Cow & Gate in branches across the UK – including one in Lockerbie, Scotland – between May 2018 and February 2020.
The married father-of-two also threatened to poison tins of food with cyanide and salmonella unless the supermarket giant sent him the money.
One draft of a letter to Tesco found on the device read: ‘Imagine a baby’s mouth cut open and blood pouring out, or the inside of their bellies cut and bleeding. You pay, you save them.’
Wright, who claimed he was part of a cohort of dairy farmers angry at the low price they were paid for their milk, signed off his threatening emails and letters ‘Guy Brush & the Dairy Pirates and Tinkerbell the naughty fairy.’
He was eventually arrested on February 25 this year following an investigation led by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit with the help of the National Crime Agency.
Involving more than 100 police officers, it is thought to be the UK’s biggest ever blackmail probe. At one stage there were in excess of 30 officers watching CCTV footage on day and night shifts.
At the Old Bailey, where Wright was sentenced today, judge Justice Warby said Wright had been ‘remorseless’ and ‘clearly revelling in the process’.
The court previously heard how two mothers were just moments away from feeding their children the metal-laced baby food.
The court heard Morven Smith was feeding her 10-month-old son a jar of Heinz sweet and sour chicken baby food in December 2019 when she noticed fragments of a craft knife blade.