Richard Adkinson Prosecutes Notts Businessmen who 'preyed on elderly'

Thu, 26 Jan 2012

Two businessmen from Nottingham, who ran a business called UK Mobility Plus were warned that if they come before the Court again, they would be jailed.
 
On 25 January 2012, Nottingham County Court heard how John Cooney, 37, and business partner Carl Mould, 46, were investigated by Nottinghamshire Trading Standards which culminated in them in September 2010 undertaking to the court to abide by various requirements of consumer protection legislation. 
 
But again, Nottinghamshire County Council started again to receive complaints about them and UK Mobility Plus. The business suddenly closed its base in Epperstone on January 6, 2011, without telling customers to where it had moved.
 
UK Mobility Plus visited the homes of potential customers and there sold them products such as rise and recline chairs, beds and bath lifts to the elderly in their homes.
 
Prosecuting on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards, Richard Adkinson outlined nine cases where the undertakings had been breached, and that in some cases “aggressive sales tactics” had been used.
 
One tactic used by Mould was to ring the office from a customer’s home, saying he was getting authorisation for a discount. Judge Inglis described this as a “cynical ploy” and “preposterous”.
Nottingham County Court heard about the case of an 88-year-old Lincolnshire woman who suffered from arthritis and blurred vision. A UK Mobility Plus salesman visited her in October 2010 and persuaded her to buy a rise and recline chair for £845. She handed over a £400 deposit.
 
The woman, from Lincolnshire, tried to cancel the order, but had to wait almost a year for a cheque to be sent. When it did arrive, it was made out in her husband’s name and bounced.
 
Cooney admitted 36 breaches of the order, relating to five customers, and Mould pleaded guilty to 12 breaches, relating to four customers.
 
For Mr Mould, Samuel Skinner said credit should be given for his guilty plea.
 
James Cleary, defending Mr Cooney, said that all those who had complained had now received a full refund, and Mr Cooney would no longer be involved in any business which sold products to the elderly.
 
Adjourning sentencing until the end of December 2014, Judge Inglis said: “Your conduct affected elderly and infirm people in their own homes, places where they should feel safe.
 
“In just a few weeks of the court order, several breaches had occurred. These are the actions of people who do not really care about the undertakings they had been given.
 
“Should either of you come before me again I will send you to prison.”
Nicola Schofield, trading standards manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "Trading standards will continue to monitor them very closely and will have no hesitation in getting them back before the courts if they slip back into old habits.
 
"This case should serve as a warning that trading standards will relentlessly pursue anyone who is prepared to target the elderly and vulnerable.
 
"Trading standards investigations in this case have stretched across the country and it has been a long, hard slog, but we are delighted that it has now reached a successful conclusion."
 
 

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