The boss of a Yorkshire slaughterhouse investigated in connection with the horsemeat scandal has narrowly escaped prison with a large fine after admitting he broke food traceability rules. 

Abattoir owner Peter Boddy was sentenced by Southwark Crown Court today alongside slaughterhouse manager David Moss in the conclusion of the first prosecution related to the 2013 horsemeat scandal.

Boddy, who was told he faced jail after admitting two counts of failing to comply with food traceability regulations, was fined a total of £8,000. Moss, who admitted falsifying an invoice, was given a four months prison sentence, suspended for two years. Both were ordered to pay more than £10,000 in costs. 

FSA inspectors and police raided Boddy’s slaughterhouse in Todmorden in February 2013. Kevin Hansford, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said documents produced for the inspection were “intended to deceive”, and the lack of proper records meant the source and destination of horsemeat passing through the business was “untraceable”.

Boddy later admitted he sold 55 horses without keeping proper records of who bought them, and accepted a further 17 into his business without making a note of the supplier.

“This deception is serious - the absence of proper records means that it is not possible to identify whether the horsemeat may have entered the human food chain. It also means that if there was a problem with the horsemeat it would not be possible to recall it,” said Hansford.

“Both Boddy and Moss had little regard for the consequences of their actions and have now been held to account for them.”

Sentencing the men, Judge Alistair McCreath said it was important to recognise that the two men had not been sentenced for being complicit in the supply of horsemeat into the human food chain. 

However, the FSA welcomed the welcomed the “successful conclusion” of the prosecution, pointing out that rules on food traceability were there to protect consumers and legitimate businesses.

“Criminal activity like this across Europe contributed to the horsemeat incident. Consumers need to know that their food is what it says it is on the label,” said FSA chief operating officer Jason Feeney.