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Devon butcher forced to bash his way out of walk-in freezer with black pudding after becoming trapped inside

The Independent logo The Independent 12/01/2018 Judith Vonberg
a man standing in front of a store © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

After getting stuck inside his own walk-in freezer, a butcher in Devon used a stick of black pudding to bash his way out.

Christopher McCabe, 70, who runs a butcher’s shop in Totnes, told The Independent how the door had slammed shut in a gust of wind, trapping him inside the freezer with a fan blowing icy air in his face.

“My heart sank for a moment,” he said. “Then I thought: I’ll have to kick myself out of it. I knew no one would hear me if I called for help.”

It was a typical morning in the shop ten days before Christmas. Mr McCabe had gone to fetch some bones for a customer from the walk-in freezer, which is about 50 yards from the back of the store.

The meat is kept at -20 degrees Celsius – far colder than a domestic fridge. “A piece of meat will freeze in an hour in there,” Mr McCabe explained. “It was a horrible December day – windy and cold – and the door slammed shut.”

It had happened before, he explained, but this time the safety button that opened the door was frozen solid. “There was four inches of ice around it,” Mr McCabe said.

After trying (and failing) to kick the button into action, he looked around frantically for a tool.

“I could have used a roll of beef,” he said. “But the black pudding had a nice flat end.”

He used the 1.5 foot, 1.5 kilogram blood sausage “like one of those police battering rams,” Mr McCabe explained, eventually freeing himself.

“That black pudding saved me,” he said. “Frozen burgers are nice but you don’t want a frozen butcher!”

After recovering from his chilly ordeal, Mr McCabe was soon back serving customers. But he has since called in a refrigerator engineer, who added a layer of silicon to the safety button, preventing it from freezing.

Mr McCabe checks it every morning – just to be sure.

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