Three-year ban for operator who lent O-licence to "aid cowboys"

Scotland traffic commissioner Joan Aitken

 

A North Lanarkshire operator who relinquished control of his O-licence to “cowboys” has been disqualified from operating trucks for three years.

Rraffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken (pictured) found Newhouse-based John Allan had deliberately undermined the licensing regime by lending his O-licence disc to brothers Graeme and Eion Robertson, who had applied for an O-licence as G E Recovery.

Allan also lost his repute and was disqualified from acting as a transport manager for an indefinite period.

The TC for Scotland said it was “impossible to know the full extent” of the collaborations between the Robertsons, Allan and disqualified operator William Meikle. Meikle, who formerly traded as MBS Transport, had his O-licence revoked and was disqualified for three years from January 2016 after it emerged he had lent his O-licence discs to the Robertsons.

A public inquiry (PI) was called in June after a truck displaying Allan’s O-licence disc was stopped by the DVSA last year. It was driven by Eion Robertson, who claimed he was employed by Allan.

Eion Robertson was the registered keeper of the truck and the Robertsons paid the vehicle’s insurance. Eion Robertson told the PI that he rented the vehicle to Allan.

In her written decision last month, the TC told Allan that anyone who “relinquishes control” of their O-licence and “aids cowboys” should not expect to retain their repute.

Following the PI, the TC refused to grant an O-licence to the Robertsons’ business, G E Recovery.

She said: “I am in no doubt that the applicants [G E Recovery] have been operating unlawfully without an operator’s licence for a long period, certainly since 2014 and most likely for all the period of the William Meikle licence. I take this from the sharing of vehicles and general interweaving of business.

“I cannot be assured that any transport manager would be able to exercise effective and continuing control over Messrs Robertson.”

She said, following the vehicle inspection in December, Eion Robertson had shown he was “deficient in compliance with the drivers’ hours and tachograph regulations”. He was found to have not taken the required breaks on five occasions; had not taken sufficient daily rest on two occasions; and had exceeded daily driving limits on two occasions.

His driving licence entitlement was suspended for six weeks from 30 June.

The TC also granted an increase of authorisation to Lanark-based The Farm Supply People, despite its director’s involvement in an O-licence application by William Meikle’s son, Christopher Meikle.

Aitken said, had it not been for the public inquiry, The Farm Supply People’s O-licence may have been “imperilled”. The TC was satisfied that the firm was not linked to William Meikle.

Christopher Meikle’s application, however, was refused due to concerns it was linked to his father’s business.