A farmer has been convicted of adding shards of metal to baby food in a plot to blackmail Tesco.
Nigel Wright, from Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, tried to extort £ 1.4million from the supermarket chain.
The Old Bailey heard how two mothers were minutes away from feeding their children when they spotted the shards.
Wright was convicted of three counts of blackmail and two charges of contamination of goods. He will be sentenced on September 28.
Jurors were told he sent dozens of letters and emails to the supermarket giant between May 2018 and February 2020 and demanded that the money be paid into the Bitcoin online currency system.
The 45-year-old has been convicted of a new blackmail charge for demanding £ 150,000 in Bitcoin from a driver with whom he had a road rage altercation.
Justice Warby requested that a psychiatric report be prepared prior to Wright’s sentencing hearing saying, “(Wright) has or appears to be mentally disordered. ”
The judge warned Wright that he faces a lengthy jail term, telling him the sentences for these types of offenses range from eight to 17 years in prison.
Wright was captured by CCTV while placing one of the contaminated jars on the shelf of a Tesco supermarket in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Morven Smith, of Lockerbie, told the court she was feeding her baby when she spotted the shard of metal in the bowl. “I gave my son a few spoonfuls and noticed something shiny,” she says. “It was horrible. I felt sick, I was so shocked.
A second mother, from Rochdale, also reported discovering fragments of metal while feeding her nine-month-old daughter.
When police raided her sheep farm, they found photos of contaminated baby food and blackmail notes on her laptop.
One note read, “Imagine a baby’s mouth open and blood flowing, or the inside of her belly cut and bleeding.” You pay, you save them. ”
Wright, who signed as a fictional character “Guy Brush” and “the Dairy Pirates”, claimed to be part of a cohort of farmers angry at the low price they were paid for their milk.
Officers also recovered some £ 100,000 in Bitcoin which had been sent by undercover officers during the investigation.
The farmer admitted to placing a jar of Heinz baby food on a shelf in a Lockerbie store, but claimed he was coerced into it by travelers who threatened to kill him and his family, the court heard .
The discovery of the pot in Scotland prompted Tesco to issue a product recall. A total of 42,000 jars of baby food were recovered, but there is no evidence that any other jars were tampered with.
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