A skip hire business has had its licence application refused after Facebook evidence emerged suggesting that it was already operating before a decision was made by the traffic commissioner.
In his written decision, West Midlands TC Nick Denton said there was considerable evidence that South Birmingham Skip Hire was operating without a licence, including “appreciative comments from customers” published on its Facebook page. Sole director Shane Baker appeared at a virtual PI due to concerns that his application was a means for disqualified director Christopher O’Donnell to circumvent licensing requirements.
O’Donnell had been director of Birmingham Skips until he attended a PI in 2020 due to insufficient finances and it became clear that he had acquired the assets of insolvent haulier Birmingham South Skips, despite statements to the contrary. The licence belonging to the Birmingham Skips was then revoked. At the latest PI, Baker told the TC he had no link with O’Donnell other than being employed as a driver for Birmingham Skips for a few months.
TC Denton asked him why bank statements for South Birmingham Skip Hire showed frequent large payments for fuel and numerous payments from various bodies and individuals with the reference ‘skip’. Baker claimed he had been providing waste removal services using builders’ bags and a van, but Denton was not convinced.
In his written decision, the TC said: “It was then drawn to my attention that the company’s Facebook page contained several photographs of skips clearly marked South Birmingham Skip Hire Ltd placed on public roads and being carried by an HGV.
“Mr Baker explained that he had had three skips painted in the South Birmingham Skip Hire livery in anticipation of the application being granted and, when that was not forthcoming by the seven week target date, had contracted with a man with a lorry to deliver and recover the skips. This person subsequently disappeared and was not contactable.”
Concluding, Denton said: “The balance of probability points heavily towards skip operations having already commenced in advance of the application being considered, and that the operation is a continuation of the business of the disqualified Birmingham Skips Ltd.”
He found that Baker was not a fit person to hold a licence and refused the application.