The “shadow director” of a scrap metal company has been disqualified from holding an O-licence for an indefinite period after he deceived the DVSA about his identity.
In 2011 Shane Fletcher, the controlling mind behind Wolverhampton-based restricted O-licence holder Fletcher Metals, was banned from being a director of any company until 2018 by the Environment Agency, following issues with a waste transfer station in Leominster.
Now West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones (pictured) has disqualified Fletcher from running HGVs and revoked Fletcher Metals’ O-licence following a public inquiry (PI) in June, after Fletcher admitted to DVSA examiners that he pretended to be Robert Millichap, a former director of the company.
Although the TC’s records showed Millichap was still a director, Companies House records stated he had resigned in 2013. Fletcher answered correspondence with the DVSA in Millichap’s name and purported to be him during telephone calls with examiners.
The operator failed to attend the PI, but Fletcher told the DVSA he signed documentation in Millichap’s name because he thought that was what the examiners wanted.
The DVSA investigated the company following a visit to its premises in December 2015. Examiners found no evidence of driver defect reporting and little or no evidence of six-weekly preventative maintenance inspections. They felt vehicle defect reports were false and the examiners said it looked as if the operator had run out of time while completing them. The company’s first-time fail rate at annual test was twice the national average, and a prohibition had been issued for overloading.
A driver received a fixed penalty for not producing a Driver Qualification Card, and tachograph recordings showed there had been more driving than the driver claimed. The same driver received another fixed penalty in January for failing to produce his digital card and records from the previous 28 days. Analysis of drivers’ hours records showed missing mileage and it appeared a vehicle was being parked next to a driver’s house, not at the operating centre.
In his written decision this month the TC said: “At all material times Shane Fletcher was the individual who gave instructions and undertook the role that one would normally associate with a director. It is clear that he also arranged for documentation to be falsified and produced to an examiner with a view to deceiving the DVSA.
“The entity holding the operator’s licence has been controlled by an individual whose identity has been deliberately kept from me. This is an exceptionally serious matter.”
Fletcher’s admission that he had pretended to be Millichap was the only positive feature the TC could put in the operator’s favour. “His deliberate and sustained deceit is such that an indefinite period of disqualification is justified and necessary,” Jones added.
He took no action against Millichap and Joseph Thompson, another director listed at Companies House.
- This article was published in the 21 July issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe today to get 12 issues for £12?