Man charged with food contamination at London supermarkets

Suspect, 37, alleged to have injected foodstuffs using syringes

<p>This Sainsbury’s on Fulham Palace Road was among the affected supermarkets</p>

This Sainsbury’s on Fulham Palace Road was among the affected supermarkets

A 37-year-old man has been charged with contaminating or interfering with goods with intent at three supermarkets in west London.

Leoaai Elghareeb, of Fulham, is due before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday following his arrest on Thursday.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council said officers were called at just before 8pm after a man was reported to be shouting abuse at people in the street.

Shani Samet said she was sitting in the back of a tapas restaurant on Fulham Palace Road when she heard a loud bang and saw a man swearing at a waiter before throwing a plant pot at him.

“He could’ve cracked somebody’s brain open,” Mr Samet said.

Mr Elghareeb is alleged to have visited three supermarkets, including Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, in Fulham Palace Road, and injected foodstuffs using a number of syringes.

The supermarkets were closed following the incident and officers in forensic suits were seen in Fulham Palace Road on Thursday at the three stores.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council subsequently advised shoppers to throw away anything bought from the three shops.

“The food items affected are believed to be processed meat and microwaveable products,” it said in a rare “emergency alert” on Wednesday evening.

“It is currently unknown how many items have been contaminated, or with what substance.”

A petrol station manager on the affected road described what happened yesterday, saying: “Police came in and told us to close about 8pm.”

The council said: “Members of the public are advised as a precaution to dispose of any food items bought from these supermarkets this evening.

“H&F Council’s Environmental Health team are now working with the supermarket branches affected.”

Packets of cooked chicken breast were among items seized by police from the supermarkets following the reports.

Announcing news of the arrest on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police said: “Police have arrested a man in Hammersmith and Fulham on suspicion of contamination of goods with intention of causing public harm or anxiety after foodstuffs at supermarkets were injected with needles.

“Officers were called at around 7.40pm after a man was reported to be shouting abuse at people in the street. The man is reported to have gone into three supermarkets in Fulham Palace Road SW6 and injected foodstuffs with a number of needles.

“He has been taken into police custody. The supermarkets have closed and crime scenes are in place.

“The food items affected are believed to be processed mean and microwaveable products.

“It is currently unknown as to how many items have been contaminated, or what with. Investigations are ongoing to establish if other businesses in the are are involved in the incident.”

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