Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Ice cream scandal: the Lopresti business investigation continues…

Earlier this year we exposed the underpayment and poor working conditions at the Lopresti ice cream and property business. The allegations keep coming in.



Earlier this year we exposed the underpayment and poor working conditions at the Lopresti ice cream and property business. The allegations keep coming in.

Words: Adam Cantwell-Corn
Photos: Rita Dizome

Workplace exploitation and £2.50 per hour wages, unsafe accommodation, withheld deposits and intimidation. All of these come served with a flake and chocolate sauce at SM Lopresti & Sons ice cream, the Bedminster based ice cream vendor.

Cable investigations over two years (See edition 11) have uncovered potentially illegal and immoral practices spanning decades at the ice cream and property business. So far there has not been public action by the authorities, although the Bristol Cable will keep the pressure up. Representatives of SM Lopresti & Sons have not responded to a request for comment.

(Please see below for a correction)


So far 13 former tenants and employees have come forward with serious and verifiable accusations. The complaints arise from the ice cream business and some of the 19 properties verifiably owned by family members who also work for SM Lopresti & Sons.

Can you help us get more testimonies? Contact us in confidence at / 07729 124080.

Going undercover: Wages paid vs wages owed to Cable undercover reporter for 27 hours worked

Paid: £92.30

Owed: £208.28


Bravely blowing the whistle on unacceptable practices. Former workers and tenants speak out*

“I regret I was not one of the persons brave enough to face it when it happened to me and another two members of my family. But I had a lot to lose at that time and they are good at threatening.”

Margarita, a former tenant and employee of the Lopresti business on the illegal payment, poor conditions and abuse

“He [Sam Lopresti] would just shout at you all the time…and have a go at you for every little thing.”

Mike, former employee

“I worked 50 hours last year and have not received a penny although I have asked a number of times.”

Charlie, former employee

“When I told him [Sam Lopresti] I had enough and was leaving he agreed to meet me in the property to collect the keys and sort the deposit out, [but] he never arrived”

Mikaela, former tenant

“If we called about an issue with the house, they would often become aggressive to try and intimidate us and get us to drop the complaint.”

James, former tenant
*All names have been changed

Lopresti ice cream vans around Bristol

Would you like a flake with the unpaid wages?

The Cable sincerely apologises for the following mistake:

In Issue 12 of the magazine we mistakenly featured photographs of two ice cream vans that do not belong to SM Lopresti & Sons. There is no connection between the vans labelled “Salvatore’s” and “Lilo & Sons” to the allegations regarding the SM Lopresti & Sons business.


Taking a nice stroll with friends and family this glorious summer? You may be tempted by one of the 12 Lopresti ice cream vans positioned in some prime Bristol spots – eight of which we’ve pictured here (not all of them bearing the family name as the “Lopresti” stickers are being removed following the investigation!). Considering the track record of the business, maybe you’ll think again!

Ashton Court
Clifton suspension bridge
Greville Smyth park
Observatory road
Oldbury Court

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

How a media backlash led to a St Paul’s woman’s dramatic release from prison

In 1933 Mary Burridge, a poor mother of five, was sentenced to a month’s hard labour after stealing a few items of food at Easter. But after a national outcry over her treatment, a wealthy lawyer flew to Cardiff to free her from prison.

Whistleblowers reveal institutional racism at local NHS trust

A Cable investigation spanning months has uncovered that complaints of institutional racism at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust went unheard, despite promises from management to tackle the issue.

Cities of the future must prioritise the health of people and the planet

Preventing ill-health from poor-quality urban environments, and promoting fairness, are at the heart of a project Bristol is helping to lead.

Rising demand and falling donations causing shortages at Bristol food banks

The cost of living crisis means more people need food banks – but fewer are donating. The Cable spoke to organisations across the city trying to help the growing number of households who can't afford to eat.

Julz Davis: checking in on Martin Luther King’s dream

Campaigner Julz Davis speaks to the Cable about his Race for Power project to improve racial equity in Bristol, the UK's seventh most unequal city.

Cooking up a storm: The project tackling Bristol’s rising food poverty

The Mazi Project provides pre-portioned meal kits to marginalised young people to address food poverty in the city.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning