Mozzarella maker gets inside help in jail row

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

MICHAEL HOWARD, the Home Secretary, has been asked by a Tory MP to approve pounds 50,000 compensation to an Italian businessman who claims the Home Office stole his idea for prisoners to make and sell Italian-style cheeses using milk from prison service dairy herds, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

The move by Sir Derek Spencer, MP for Brighton Pavilion, will add to the embarrassment of Mr Howard, who this week will receive a report criticising the cheese factory at East Sutton Park prison in Kent, which is losing money and polluting waterways.

Edgardo Pasquali, of Brighton, says he has been frozen out of the business he began, and is taking legal action to get compensation from the Home Office for loss of earnings and expenses. He claims this totals pounds 167,000.

The cheese farm, which opened last August and makes mozzarella and ricotta, has now been taken over by prison service staff. Robert Fulton, director of Prison Industries and Farms, said: 'We do not dispute that he has put time and effort into this project. We are trying to reach a reasonable settlement which recognises that, but also recognises what he owes us.'