A SHOP owner feels “completely let down” after the yobs who threatened to kill his family had their prison sentences overturned.

Joseph Reno, 34, said he and his heavily pregnant wife still live in fear after becoming the victims of a racist hate campaign by Stephanie Copperwheat, Jordan Stubbings and Sean Gaynor, all aged 20.

The trio bombarded Mr Reno with calls demanding cash, threatening to kill his wife and child, and telling him they would bomb his Subway takeaway shop, in Billericay High Street.

The three were handed fourmonth prison terms at Basildon Magistrates’ Court in June, but were then granted bail, pending an appeal.

However, on Friday, a judge at Basildon Crown Court overturned the sentences, on the grounds they were “excessive”, instead handing them community orders with unpaid work.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Reno, said: “I feel completely let down by the courts.

“I’ve not had justice and I don’t feel the judge has realised the impact this has had on me and my family.

“The courts should be set up to punish people when they commit crime to stop them doing it again.

“A community order is not a deterrent.

“Now I believe it’s just a matter of time until they do this again.

“The courts just seem to be there to protect criminals instead of victims.”

Mr Reno moved to Billericay from his native India about 12 years ago and says he has never suffered racist abuse on this scale.

Copperwheat and Stubbings, both of Tate Close, Laindon, and Gaynor, of Westfield, Laindon, began making the phone calls in February.

They racially abused Mr Reno, swore at him, and told him to take a bag of money to Cosmos Takeaway, at Basildon bus station.

They told him if he did turn up with the cash, theywould kill his family and bomb his business.

Basildon Magistrates heard the gang started the campaign of abuse after Gaynor felt he had been unfairly dismissed from Subway.

Mr Reno said: “I don’t understand why he would say that.

“He worked for me for a few weeks last year, but after a few shifts said he didn’t want the job and decided to leave.

“I paid him his wages and then nine months later he decided to start making the calls. I just don’t understand it.”

Mr Reno said the group’s actions still frighten him.

He said: “I feel completely paranoid. When I go home at night, I’m constantly looking behind me.

“I don’t even have the lights on in my living room when it’s dark because I fear someone is watching me and looking into my home.

“My wife is eight months pregnant.

She has been very stressed and frightened about all this. I’m worried about our baby.”