SWR (Wales) fails in impounded truck release attempt

Traffic commissioner Nick Jones

 

The director of a Barry-based plant hire company has been criticised for deliberately burying his head in the sand while letting another company use a truck he claimed was owned by his firm.

Traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales Nick Jones (pictured) denied to return an impounded truck to SWR (Wales) as it was unable to prove it was its legitimate owner.

The 18-tonne truck, which displayed the livery of revoked operator Valco Scaffolding, was detained in Cardiff in May as a DVSA examiner believed it was being used without an O-licence by the scaffolding business. It was laden with scaffolding poles and boards.

The driver said he was self-employed, but was carrying out a job for Valco Scaffolding. The other people working at the site also claimed to be carrying out paid work for the same company.

A folder was found in the truck, which contained Valco Scaffolding documents.

One driver admitted he had been driving without a tachograph card. An inspection of the tachograph unit revealed it had not been calibrated in some time.

It emerged that had the DVSA not questioned the driver, he would have worked for 12 days without a weekly rest period.

Valco Scaffolding, which had its O-licence revoked in April, has previously been warned that vehicles would be impounded if they were found operating after the date its O-licence was taken away. Both directors confirmed receipt of the email.

SWR (Wales) applied for the vehicle’s release, but the DVSA did not accept that it was its lawful owner.

Valco Scaffolding director Peter Walker claimed that the vehicle had been sold and should have been delivered to the new owners, SWR (Wales), once it was unloaded.

However, the DVSA found that it had covered 954km since the date Valco Scaffolding attended a public inquiry in April.

At a hearing last month, SWR (Wales) director Steven Robinson could not give a clear answer as to why the vehicle had not been delivered straight away after it was purchased. He also said that no insurance policy had been taken out.

The TC said: “I do not regard it as best practice for the director of a limited company to pay for an HGV in cash without any formal record. While the director claims that he sent the V5 to the DVLA, he has provided no evidence of this to me.

“In any event, a V5 document merely records for the purposes of the DVLA who is the registered keeper – it is not tantamount to proof of ownership.”

He said Robinson had been “exceptionally cavalier” in the way he had conducted business, and advised that the DVSA conduct an investigation into SWR (Wales).

The TC found that SWR (Wales) had assisted Valco Scaffolding in circumventing the decision to revoke its O-licence, and knew of the latter company’s continued illegal operating.