A FAMILY butcher has spent more than £100,000 on a Christmas beef buying spree.

Anthony Kitson, of Kitson & Sons Butchers, has snapped up 50 Christmas champions and prize winners at many leading primestock shows across the North of England and beyond for his four shops in North Yorkshire and Durham.

He said: “It’s the best haul of beasts l have ever seen and owned – quite possibly the biggest ever buying coup by an independent family-run UK butcher. In the face of strong competition from retail butchers at every single auction mart, we went all out to get the best beef that money can buy for our customers’ Christmas tables. We succeeded and we are over the moon to secure this fantastic feast of festive fatstock."

The meat is now being fully matured before going on sale in his Five Houses Farm Shop and Kitchen in Crathorne, and his butchers shops in Northallerton, Stockton-on-Tees, and Hutton Rudby.

The most expensive of all his buys was the £5,500 paid for the supreme champion at the East of England Winter Stock Festival in Peterborough, a Limousin heifer from Lincolnshire’s Phil and Sharon Sellers

He also paid well into four figures for all his 2018 prime cattle purchases. At Northallerton mart he secured the supreme champion Limousin heifer from Willie Timms, of Kearby, along with the best butchers British Blue heifer from RA&S Spink, of Rookwith, Ripon.

Next followed the supreme champion at Malton Auction Mart, another Limousin heifer from Andrew and Matthew Brown, of Carnaby, plus the reserve champion butchers light heifer, a British Blue from Nick Marwood, of Harome, and both the first and third prize butchers heavy heifer Blues, the former from David Jackson, also from Carnaby, the latter also from Mr Marwood.

He then bought the champion British Blue heifer at Holmfirth mart, shown by Lee Hopwood, of Stalybridge, and the first prize steer at Hexham mart’s Christmas show from Messrs Rochester & Murray of Tow Law.

Among other buys were 14 prime cattle from Cumbria; the Scottish Winter Fair champion; best butchers beast at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair; supreme prime cattle champion at Skipton mart and supreme beef champion at Ruswarp mart's Christmas Show.

Mr Kitson said: “We have gone to extraordinary lengths to secure some of the best meat in the country, which will all be available over our shop counters this Christmas – and, importantly, at our normal prices. We like to think of it as an extra-special Christmas present for our loyal customers who have supported us all year long."