Matthew Barton at the 2006 Re:fresh awards

Matthew Barton, 30, and Thomas Barton, 58, both directors at Manchester-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler Barton & Redman, have each been sentenced to 10 weeks in prison.

The sentencing, which took place at Manchester Crown Court on 18 April, came after both menwere found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police confirmed: “Both men were sent a notice of intent to prosecute following speeding offences. However, when the documents were subsequently returned they were filled out with false information.”

One north-west supplier told FPJ that he was shocked to hear the news. “Barton & Redman are one of the biggest fresh produce businesses in the north west and are a well-known firm at Manchester’s Smithfield market, so this news has definitely come as a shock.

“I’m sure the business will bounce back and continue to grow, but there is no doubt that the two prosecutions will create a lot of questions among customers and fellow traders.”

According to the Barton & Redman website, the wholesaler sells on average 200 pallets (around 200 tonnes) of stock every day, owning 16 outlets throughout the UK and employing in excess of 40 staff.The wholesaler also operates a fleet of vehicles ranging from 7.5 to 18 tonnes in capacity for deliveries throughout the UK.

Director Matthew Barton was awarded Young Person of the Year at the 2006 Re:fresh Awards for his achievements as a salesman for the Manchester-based wholesaler.

Barton & Redman, as well as both defendants’ legal representatives, Betesh Partnership and Middleweeks Solicitors, failed to comment on the sentencing when contacted by FPJ.