A CHRISTMAS ­dinner disaster was averted in one ­Newton Abbot household after a Tesco-bought turkey was found covered with the festive bird’s faeces.

The supermarket chain, already at the centre of a ‘rancid’ turkey scandal over the holiday period, has since apologised ­profusely for the ­poisonous blunder which could have had fatal consequences for the Budd family in Bradley Barton.

Sharp-sighted John Budd, who prevented a possible tragedy after spotting the turkey’s claw covered in its own muck, said: ‘If we were not savvy enough not to eat it, it could have killed my wife whose painkilling medication for arthritis shuts down her immune system and makes her vulnerable to food poisoning and flu.’

Andrea said: ‘I am on immuno-suppressant drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis which lowers my immune system and that is why we were so concerned with what could have happened to me – let alone to our family.’

But seasonal cheer was rescued at the last minute as highly embarrassed Tesco staff in Kingsteignton immediately gave them free lamb, beef and duck to make amends for the horror.

John told the ­

Mid-Devon Advertiser this week: ‘It nearly ruined our Christmas – but luckily I tend to ­prepare the turkey on Christmas Eve. It gave us enough time to rush to Tesco Express with the turkey where staff were horrified.’

He added: ‘All this was really annoying. I am a traditionalist and we like our turkey.’

John, a plumber, is demanding answers. He wants to know how and why the mistake was made and who was responsible.

Mr Budd went to the store on Wednesday morning to complain again but the manager wouldn’t come down and speak to him.

He said: ‘An apology from the manager and reassurance that the matter would be investigated would have been nice.’

A Tesco spokesman said on Wednesday: ‘We have robust measures in place to ensure our products are of the highest standard, so we were very surprised to hear of this incident.

‘We are investigating this with our supplier and have provided the customer with a refund, an alternative product in time for Christmas and an additional gesture of goodwill.’

The offending turkey has been sent to the supermarket’s head office for analysis.

Across the country the supermarket giants were rocked by a string of complaints about their turkeys.

Some disappointed customers had to order a takeaway after their traditional bird was found to be well and truly ‘off.’

Alison Kendall, from Essex, took to social media to complain: ‘Thank you Tesco for the Finest Turkey Crown with a sell-by date of December 26 that had gone off by the 25th – ruining our Christmas dinner.

‘Imagine my sheer panic at 6am on Xmas Day, opening the turkey wrap to be hit by that ‘gone off’ smell with 10 people coming to Xmas dinner.’

Tesco has pledged to investigate a string of similar complaints.