"Truly appalling" vehicle maintenance sees O-licence revoked


Salford-based cash and carry firm, Santorini, has lost its O-licence after its vehicle safety standards were condemned as “truly appalling”, following an investigation by the DVSA.

Santorini’s O-licence was revoked by deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for the north west of England, Miles Dorrington, following a public inquiry in March.

A vehicle examiner said the firm had no procedures in place for maintaining its vehicles to the required safety standards. This included no system for drivers to report defects identified before vehicles were used and no inspection paperwork to show vehicles had undergone safety checks. In addition to the safety shortcomings, the company was also operating a vehicle in Norway – which is outside the EU – even though its restricted O-licence only permitted carriage of its own goods in EU countries.

Santorini produced documents relating to vehicle maintenance at the hearing, but the deputy TC said none of this paperwork satisfied him that vehicles were being operated to a compliant and acceptable standard.

Making an order to revoke Santorini’s licence, Dorrington said not only had the firm’s standards been poor at the time of the investigation last September, but they did not appear to have improved by the time of the hearing this year.

He added: “There were virtually no positives in this case. In addition it has come to light about the unlawful operation in Norway and the unlawful use of an operating centre there.

“I have given the operator some credit for being open before me, for the apology offered, and for the lack of prohibitions. After undertaking a careful balancing exercise I have determined that the negatives significantly outweigh the positives.”

Dorrington added if the operator was to run vehicles
after the revocation of its licence, the DVSA could impound them.

By David Harris