'Illegal slaughterhouse' discovered

'Illegal slaughterhouse' discovered

A suspected illegal animal slaughterhouse has been discovered in south Armagh.

The find was made during an multi-agency investigation to target agricultural crime and "protect the safety of the food chain."It was launched in the Newry and Mourne area on Monday morning.Searches were carried out at two properties in Forkhill and one in the Bessbrook area.A number of items were seized for examination during the Forkhill searches. Nothing was found during the Bessbrook raid, police have confirmed.Maria Jennings, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland, confirmed that "suspected illegal animal slaughter and meat cutting operations" had been found."The FSA is working closely with the PSNI and all relevant authorities, including DARD and the district Council on this investigation - in order to stop further production at this plant and to protect the safety of the food chain."The information we have tells us that meat was being produced illegally, without official hygiene checks."We are currently investigating which businesses have been supplied with meat from the plant and we will provide further information once we have it."Chief Inspector Davy Beck, PSNI Area Commander, said investigations are at an early stage.A police statement released on Monday afternoon said: "Police enquiries into this matter are continuing with partner agencies. Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Newry on 0845 600 8000."

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