Hauliers found fronting could face lengthy bans, TC Sarah Bell warns


Traffic commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell (pictured) has warned O-licence holders they could face a lengthy ban from the industry if they choose to act as a front for a disqualified operator.

The TC for London and the South East said operators that provide cover for disqualified persons could also expect significant consequences on their future ability to operate.

Her warning was issued after she imposed 10-year disqualifications on west London-based companies D&R Grab Services and SWS Transport from holding an O-licence. The firms’ director, Mark Goosey, also received a 10-year ban after he was found to have acted as a front for disqualified haulier Thomas McKinney.

“Whilst each case turns on its merits at the time, I send a clear deterrence message to anyone attempted to front for those already disqualified… [they] face not only revocation of the licence but potentially a lengthy period of disqualification themselves,” Bell said, giving her decision following a public inquiry last month.

Goosey admitted to the DVSA that McKinney, who had been subject to a disqualification order since 2006, was involved with SWS Transport. He attended the firm’s premises sometimes two or three times a day, taking a 10% financial cut on the work carried out.

The TC said: “I note originally Mr Goosey denied any connection with Thomas McKinney. He was unable to maintain that assertion in light of the cogent evidence put before him subsequently in the interview. The explanation was essentially that he did not want to be tainted with Mr McKinney’s history.”

She added: “Mr Goosey acted dishonestly in relation to D&R and SWS since at least 2015. The vehicles and drivers are used interchangeably and therefore it is not possible to say whether fronting was limited to SWS or D&R as well.”

Other offences included the loss of all analogue charts; the issue of prohibitions; using two untaxed vehicles on the public highway; using a SORN vehicle on the public highway and using vehicles outside of the margins available on numerous occasions.

Goosey also conceded that there had been approximately 362 instances where drivers had driven without their tachograph cards; 206 at SWS Transport and 156 at D&R Grab Hire Services. He had also committed a daily rest offence.

Transport manager Dean Ersser was also disqualified for an indefinite period after the TC determined he had carried out the role in name only.