A Tooting market trader has been given a suspended jail sentence after being caught in possession of illegal foods including bush meat and products from endangered species.

Cyril Ussher, of Monisher Foods in Broadway Market, was given a 14-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, after he was convicted of four food safety and hygiene charges.

Richmond Magistrates court heard Wandsworth Council's food safety team launched an investigation into Mr Ussher after a selection of illegal food was intercepted at Heathrow airport.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) contacted the town hall after being tipped off by customs officials that part of the package was addressed to Monisher Foods in Tooting.

When the FSA team visited Mr Ussher’s premises they found a freezer full of meat and fish, including pigs trotters, smoked tilapia and smoked barracuda.

The trader was told by magistrates that his offences had put public health "at potentially serious risk".

The officers also discovered a serious rodent infestation with mouse droppings on food shelves, on the floor and inside crates of food.

Mr Ussher was unable to supply any receipts to show where the products came from, nor was he able to provide documentation to show they came from approved sources and were safe for human consumption.

The FSA detained the products but three weeks later he produced an invoice for the pig trotters and some of the fish and tried to claim them back. However, health officers later discovered the invoice was counterfeit, because the company concerned dealt solely with fish and not meat.

The court noted that as a businessman selling foodstuffs for more than 10 years, Ussher should have been fully aware of all the laws and regulations relating to his business, especially the need to keep invoices showing who his suppliers were and where his products had come from.

Robin Ramen, the environmental health officer who led the investigation said: "Mr Ussher narrowly avoided an immediate jail sentence for these offences.

"This should act as a warning to other food retailers who are prepared to play fast and loose with food safety laws."

Ussher must now wear an electronic tag while observing an 8pm to 8am curfew for four months - he was also ordered to pay £500 in costs.