A Romanian-registered lorry was carrying out illegal cabotage operations in the UK for almost three months before the DVSA caught up with it and impounded the vehicle, according to the Welsh traffic commissioner (TC).
TC Victoria Davies said the articulated HGV towing a trailer was stopped at a DVSA checksite in Ewloe, North Wales, on 2 April, where it was discovered it had entered the country on 9 January
– 83 days earlier.
Furthermore, DVSA checks revealed the vehicle, which was travelling from Holyhead to Dover with a load of beer, had been encountered on 1 March and the driver had been ordered to leave the country then, but had not.
The haulier, Densel 17 Transporter, had also received a pre-impounding warning letter in November 2022 informing it that any further cabotage breaches could result in its vehicles being impounded.
Nevertheless, the company applied for the lorry to be returned, pointing out that it held a valid O-licence and claiming that it hadn’t breached any cabotage rules.
Ahead of an impounding hearing before TC Davies, the haulier was asked to provide evidence that it was the legal owner of the vehicle and that it was complying with cabotage legislation.
Densel 17 Transporter did not comply with these directions; it did not submit any evidence and did not appear at the hearing.
In her written decision explaining why she was refusing the application to return the truck, the TC said: “When a vehicle is impounded, establishing lawful ownership is a basic ‘condition precedent’ before any person or entity can make an application to a traffic commissioner for its return.
“The company’s written application did not include any evidence as to ownership of the impounded vehicle. I gave specific directions on the issue of ownership, namely that the applicant company must provide evidence to prove its ownership of the vehicle, as already set out above. It failed to comply with
She added: “The community authorisation which had allowed the operator to carry out international journeys into other European countries had expired on 27 September 2022, more than six months before the impounding.
“The vehicle had been in the UK for 83 days and was operating in clear breach of the cabotage rules.”