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Farmer laced Tesco baby food with metal to leave tots ‘cut open and bleeding’ in £1.4m blackmail plot

A FARMER laced Tesco baby food with metal to leave tots’ “bellies cut and bleeding” in a £1.4million blackmail plot.

Nigel Wright, 45, placed the three dangerous jars in two separate supermarkets before buying wine and flowers for his wife.

He then demanded a ransom of £1.4million in Bitcoin from Tesco in chilling letters and emails.

One warned: “Acting quickly will save your customers.”

In another, Wright said: “Imagine a baby’s mouth cut open and blood pouring out, or the inside of their bellies cut and bleeding. You pay, you save them.”

He signed off as the fictional character “Guy Brush” and “the Dairy Pirates” – claiming to be part of a cohort of farmers angry at the low price they were paid for their milk.

Alarmingly, two mums later spotted sharp shards while feeding their newborns.

Morven Smith had already given some of the food to her ten-month-old in Lockerbie when she spotted “something shiny” in the bowl.

She said: “It was horrendous. I felt sick I was so shocked.”

A second mother in Rochdale then revealed she had discovered metal while feeding her nine-month-old daughter.

The discovery led to a national product recall and remaining stock was pulled from the shelves.

Wright then spun a web of lies – claiming he was forced to put out the jars by travellers who threatened to rape his wife and hang his children “from the trees”.

But jurors today saw through the claims and he was convicted of two counts of contaminating food.

Wright was also found guilty of three counts of blackmail for demanding cryptocurrency from Tesco in exchange for revealing where the contaminated food had been placed.

He was also convicted of a further charge of blackmail for demanding £150,000 worth of Bitcoin from a driver with whom he had had a road rage altercation.

Under cross-examination, the father-of-two said he had been followed by a BMW on his way to Lockerbie, even though road cameras did not pick up a tail.

He then placed the marked-up jar containing metal on a shelf before calmly strolling through the aisles to pick up wine and flowers for his teacher wife.

In total, 42,000 jars of Heinz baby food were recovered but there is no evidence any more had been tampered with.

When Wright was eventually tracked down, officers found photographs of contaminated baby food on his laptop.

The labels were clearly visible, and two of the jars – the cheese and tomato pasta stars and Sunday chicken dinner – were open with pieces of metal placed inside.

Officers also recovered £100,000 in bitcoin which had been sent by undercover officers during the investigation.

Wright, from Market Rasen, Lincs, will be sentenced on September 28 pending a psychiatric report.

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