Warwickshire-based Demilex Transport has had its licence revoked after a Birmingham public inquiry (PI) found that it lacked professional competence and financial standing.
Traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton heard that Demilex, which holds a standard international licence for seven vehicles and six trailers but actually operated fewer, responded to a request for evidence of financial standing in January but it had far too little accessible cash to satisfy the requirements.
The written decision noted that the amount in its bank, which was not revealed precisely, was nevertheless “far below the £34,350 necessary to support seven vehicles and below even the £7,950 required to support just one”.
Those bank statements resulted in the call to PI, at which sole director James Anthony Finch did provide further statements but these showed “slightly less than the amount which had been previously demonstrated”.
Further bank and credit card statements relating to Finch’s private account were presented but guidelines prevented these from being taken into account as they were in his name, not the company’s.
At the PI it also emerged that the firm’s nominated transport manager, Ian Evans, had ceased to be paid at the end of November 2016.
The TC observed: “This meant that he had therefore no genuine link with the operator, as required by Regulation EC 1071/2009. There was indeed little sign that he was carrying out his duties. Mr Finch stated that Mr Evans attended once a week or once a fortnight. I noted that driver infringement letters had Mr Evans’s name printed at the bottom but he had not signed them. There was no other evidence of his involvement.”
In addition, it emerged that one vehicle had recently failed its MoT because of the poor condition of three of its tyres (with a further two tyres receiving an advisory), there were gaps of more than six weeks in some vehicle inspection safety intervals and that safety inspections for the same vehicle that failed its MoT revealed it to be “in a consistently poor condition”.
Finch told the inquiry that he accepted standards had slipped and that some safety inspections had been missed. He said business had become hard after the loss of a contract with Asda, and that its scrap metal work was proving unprofitable because tyres picked up frequent damage at scrap metal yards.
He added that a new contract carrying clay was likely to be much more profitable and asked for a further chance.
The TC said: “Mr Finch pleaded for a further period of grace in which to re-establish the company’s finances on a firmer footing, but in essence that period of grace has already been given – the period between submitting finances and the public inquiry on 10 May when the picture had in fact deteriorated slightly. I see no realistic prospect of a significant improvement.”
Denton added: “The lack of involvement of a transport manager is evident in the poor management of drivers’ hours, vehicle maintenance and driver entitlement which became evident during the inquiry.”
The revocation of Demilex’s licence takes effect on 19 June.