A butcher selling expensive meat conned his clients with a fake five-star food hygiene certificate because he was feeling sad - after his wife left him.

Robert Punter tricked his clients into believing they were dealing with a tradesman with a "very good" five-star rating from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), when in fact inspectors had never looked at his premises. 

The 53-year-old director of Millers Catering Butchers, Beddington, used the FSA logo on his website as well as on 11 invoices to con traders into thinking he was approved by the authority. 

RELATED: Butcher accused of faking five-star hygiene rating

Punter, of Sutton, misled his clients for six months before he was caught out by the council in June last year - and even admitted to scribbling out the logo on some of his invoices because he was not able to delete it off his computer. 

The director, whose wholesale butchers in Horatius Way on the Silver Wing Industrial Estate say they "ensure satisfaction", had previously failed to comply with food hygiene standards in 2012.

Defending, Len Hodkin said: "During this period my client's wife left him for somebody else and he lost his house and almost his business.

"He did not take all reasonable precautions and did not realise that the logo was put on the website by the web designer.

"But once he was notified of the site, it was removed on the Monday after telling the web designer on the Saturday. 

"Whilst this is not the first time he has appeared before the court, this is a matter of mismanagement rather than a deliberate act to deceive anybody."

Sima Kahn, prosecuting, said Punter had been frank and accepted his errors but asked why he was not able to delete the logo on his invoices using his computer. 

She said: "If he usually deleted the logo on the invoices with a black pen, but why did he not just delete it on his computer?

"Following an interview with the FSA in 2012 an inspection was conducted and he was given a conditional approval. 

"It is clear there was a lack of supervision."

Punter pleaded guilty to two charges of issuing false or misleading advertisements at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Punter was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £5,000.

District Judge Nigel McLean said: "I will give you credit for your guilty plea, but you are aware of these regulations. 

"The issue of this case was a lack of supervision, rather than a deliberate attempt to deceive."

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