Businessmen win cut in sentences

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TWO businessmen whose firm bullied pensioners into buying mobility aids using underhand tactics have had their sentences cut on appeal.

REO Marketing director Rodney Stone, aged 64, and 48-year-old sales manager Geoffrey Moore presided over employees who subjected elderly people to four-hour sales pitches.

Stone, of Bamford Avenue, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, was jailed for three years and Moore, of Prospect Road, Pilsley, Chesterfield, was given four years at Derby Crown Court after they admitted unfair and aggressive commercial practices.

But three top judges cut their jail terms by a third after ruling they should have been sentenced on the basis they ‘neglected their duty’, rather than being involved in what their staff were doing.

Mr Justice Openshaw told London’s Court of Appeal REO’s dodgy practices included telling ailing pensioners massage chairs would help their conditions and customers being charged between three and 13 times the recommended retail price for items.

The court heard agents would try to get up to £5,000 for the chairs, but would knock them down to £1,000 during marathon visits, which could last up to four hours.

The company raked in £1.6 million in 2010, before it was investigated by Trading Standards.

Mr Justice Openshaw cut Moore’s sentence to two and a half years, and Stone’s to two years.