Man investigated over Southend oyster picking

Southend Standard: Oyster pickers on Southend seafront Oyster pickers on Southend seafront

A MAN has been caught allegedly harvesting oysters from Southend’s seafront to sell in London restaurants.

The Food Standards Agency is urgently investigating the unnamed man after he was spotted filling sack after sack with the shellfish.

The move is the first time someone has been accused of gathering oysters, which can contain deadly viruses and bacteria if they are not treated properly, to make money.

However, despite a concerted campaign from councillors to raise awareness of the supposed illegal trade in shellfish, bosses at Southend Council insisted the incident was the first they had come across.

Andrew Lewis, corporate director for enterprise, tourism and the environment, said: “This individual was deemed to be collecting more oysters than could reasonably be said to be for his own personal use.

“It was a substantially larger number than we have seen in the past.”

In August, the Echo took photographs of oyster pickers on Chalkwell beach, working in an apparently organised operation.

While it is not illegal to collect oysters for personal use, any shellfish harvested from the sea which are destined for paying customers must first be subjected to a process which destroys any dangerous bacteria or viruses.

Our pictures sparked a flurry of concerns about potentially harmful oysters entering the food chain.

Council officers apprehended the man who is currently being investigated two weeks ago, following a tip-off about his suspicious behaviour.

The Echo understands they photographed him collecting sacks of oysters and tying them to a buoy in the estuary, where they were picked up by a boat and taken to shore.

It is thought the shellfish could have been headed for restaurants in London.

Under the Food Safety Act 1990, the man could be fined up to £20,000 or even jailed if he is prosecuted and subsequently found guilty.

Fisherman Richard Eves, who runs Leigh Fishermans Co-operative in old Leigh High Street, was caught with 400 untreated oysters in a fridge at his shop in September.

He was ordered to pay for the destruction of the oysters under the Food Safety Act.

Mr Lewis said: “The investigation is still at a very early stage, but the man is being investigated for possible food fraud.”

Comments (10)

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11:37am Tue 4 Dec 12

Nebs says...

When it goes to court, ask the judge to comment on how many oysters is reasonable for personal use.
When it goes to court, ask the judge to comment on how many oysters is reasonable for personal use. Nebs
  • Score: 0

11:41am Tue 4 Dec 12

Eric Whim says...

depends really doesn't it, if you're a skinny, you might need less for 'percy' than, say, a great big fattie like Eric Pickles might
depends really doesn't it, if you're a skinny, you might need less for 'percy' than, say, a great big fattie like Eric Pickles might Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

11:42am Tue 4 Dec 12

reptile says...

The restaurant and take away trade couldn't care less what they give you to eat as long as they make money.
The restaurant and take away trade couldn't care less what they give you to eat as long as they make money. reptile
  • Score: 0

11:42am Tue 4 Dec 12

j-w says...

"First person they have come across!" Obviously they don't ever go near the seafront at low tide then.
"First person they have come across!" Obviously they don't ever go near the seafront at low tide then. j-w
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Tue 4 Dec 12

alimac69 says...

Chinese again?
Chinese again? alimac69
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole.
76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole. Shoebury_Cyclist
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Tue 4 Dec 12

notinwestcliffanymore says...

Shoebury_Cyclist wrote:
76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole.
posh tory food eh! only toffs can afford any of the other 24% BUT they are good for the enviroment just think how much sh4t a million oysters must filter out of the water hmmm tasty. bit like cyclists there are pros and cons...
[quote][p][bold]Shoebury_Cyclist[/bold] wrote: 76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole.[/p][/quote]posh tory food eh! only toffs can afford any of the other 24% BUT they are good for the enviroment just think how much sh4t a million oysters must filter out of the water hmmm tasty. bit like cyclists there are pros and cons... notinwestcliffanymore
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Tue 4 Dec 12

DogsMessInLeigh says...

i have tried them a few years back when the first Chinese pickers appeared, i asked to look in his buckets and he gave me 5, took them home and steamed them added some chilly sauce...v/nice...and i lived to tell the tale, the council should send a private dick out and follow the trail bet they end up in the Chinese community and possible sold on, getting a bit sick of the pickers storys...either do something if its illegal or shut up.
i have tried them a few years back when the first Chinese pickers appeared, i asked to look in his buckets and he gave me 5, took them home and steamed them added some chilly sauce...v/nice...and i lived to tell the tale, the council should send a private dick out and follow the trail bet they end up in the Chinese community and possible sold on, getting a bit sick of the pickers storys...either do something if its illegal or shut up. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 0

6:33am Wed 5 Dec 12

rodgdodge says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
i have tried them a few years back when the first Chinese pickers appeared, i asked to look in his buckets and he gave me 5, took them home and steamed them added some chilly sauce...v/nice...and i lived to tell the tale, the council should send a private dick out and follow the trail bet they end up in the Chinese community and possible sold on, getting a bit sick of the pickers storys...either do something if its illegal or shut up.
Tx DMIL. I`ll try that, there are loads off the beach at the Castle pub as well! Some as big as one`s hand! Cheaper than Viagra?? lol
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: i have tried them a few years back when the first Chinese pickers appeared, i asked to look in his buckets and he gave me 5, took them home and steamed them added some chilly sauce...v/nice...and i lived to tell the tale, the council should send a private dick out and follow the trail bet they end up in the Chinese community and possible sold on, getting a bit sick of the pickers storys...either do something if its illegal or shut up.[/p][/quote]Tx DMIL. I`ll try that, there are loads off the beach at the Castle pub as well! Some as big as one`s hand! Cheaper than Viagra?? lol rodgdodge
  • Score: 0

7:22am Wed 5 Dec 12

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

notinwestcliffanymor
e
wrote:
Shoebury_Cyclist wrote:
76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole.
posh tory food eh! only toffs can afford any of the other 24% BUT they are good for the enviroment just think how much sh4t a million oysters must filter out of the water hmmm tasty. bit like cyclists there are pros and cons...
It's true:

http://www.independe
nt.co.uk/life-style/
health-and-families/
health-news/76-of-uk
-oysters-contain-nor
ovirus-says-research
-6269372.html
[quote][p][bold]notinwestcliffanymor e[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Shoebury_Cyclist[/bold] wrote: 76% of British oysters contain Norovirus. I wouldn't touch an oyster with a barge pole.[/p][/quote]posh tory food eh! only toffs can afford any of the other 24% BUT they are good for the enviroment just think how much sh4t a million oysters must filter out of the water hmmm tasty. bit like cyclists there are pros and cons...[/p][/quote]It's true: http://www.independe nt.co.uk/life-style/ health-and-families/ health-news/76-of-uk -oysters-contain-nor ovirus-says-research -6269372.html Shoebury_Cyclist
  • Score: 0

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