Baker facing £22,000 legal bill

A BAKER is facing costs of almost £22,000 after a court sentenced him yesterday for selling underweight loaves. Roger Beach, of the Breadbasket in the High Street, Clacton, was fined £2,600 relating to 13 charges of "inadequate" weights and measures on loaves of bread and one other charge of failing to "carry out a check".

A BAKER is facing costs of almost £22,000 after a court sentenced him yesterday for selling underweight loaves.

Roger Beach, of the Breadbasket in the High Street, Clacton, was fined £2,600 relating to 13 charges of "inadequate" weights and measures on loaves of bread and one other charge of failing to "carry out a check".

Harwich Magistrates' Court also ordered the 59-year-old to pay court costs of £21,897 for the prosecution which was brought by Essex County Council's trading standards department.

Mr Beach said he could not believe what was happening and said he was "sick to his stomach". He had denied the offences but was found guilty at a two-day trial at the court in June.


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Daniel Bunting, for Mr Beach, said the costs were "totally excessive in a case of this nature".

He said: "The defendant accepts he must pay towards the costs but a lot of these costs are unnecessary.

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"There was no deception to customers, they bought what they saw. He is a man of nearly 60 and has been a baker since the age of 16 and had no trouble with trading standards in that time."

He said Mr Beach was in court for 60p of missing bread: "There was not an attempt to under sell or dupe people.

"Trading standards accept that it was not a deliberate attempt to undersell or was fraudulent – it was simply a mistake."

Mr Bunting said it had been a "very small breach of the rules".

The Breadbasket bakery was checked by trading standards officers in 2000 when it found 13 of the 19 loaves on sale in the shop were underweight by up to 68g.

The total costs in the case were particularly high because of the time it had taken to bring the case to court.

Last night, Peter Martin, cabinet member with responsibilities for planning, enterprise and regeneration at Essex County Council said: "Consumers take for granted that they're not being short-changed.

"This case shows how important the work of trading standards is in protecting consumers and ensuring fair competition."

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