Food worth £15,000 left defrosting and unrefrigerated in a van was seized after a routine stop by police at Crick on Tuesday.
Officers from Northamptonshire Police were taking part in a national campaign to crackdown on hauliers breaking the law.
They were stationed at the VOSA weighbridge in Crick, just off junction 18 of the M1 where they were pulling over random lorries and vans for spot checks. They were looking at driving hours, the weight of the vehicle and potential fuel tax evasion.
One van they pulled over turned out to be two tonnes overweight.
Pc Dave Lee, from the road policing unit, tweeted: “Got a refrigerated van pulled in that is two tonnes overweight and contains frozen, chilled and ambient food. Have contacted the relevant authority who are attending to look at the conditions of this food that was en route to a restaurant.
“Daventry council’s environmental health have seized all the food which is likely to be destroyed. Investigation by them into the company now starts.”
Followed shortly by: “The smell was horrendous! The worrying thing was this was on its way to two restaurants.”
The two occupants of the van were arrested for immigration offences.
The online coverage gained the attention of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who re-tweeded some of the police’s comments after they remarked: “I wish we had Gordon Ramsay with us!”.
Following the van being stopped Daventry District Council confirmed their environmenal health team had been called out by police to the scene. The council said it had yet to discover where the food was from or who was responsible for it. It was seized while their officers investigated.
The day of action saw the Northamptonshire officers working with colleagues from Leicestershire Constabulary plus VOSA and HM Customs.
They used a special mobile fuel testing laboratory, allowing them to test on site the fuel that was being used by vehicles to make sure it had been charged at the right tax rate. Most of the other offences discovered during the operation at Crick related to overweight vehicles – something that is not only illegal, but can cause significant handling problems.