A haulier described as a “blight on the haulage industry” by Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken (pictured) has been given a lifetime ban from operating HGVs.
William Davidson was found to have taken control of Isle of Skye-based operator John L Campbell despite receiving a six-year disqualification from the TC in 2015.
Former director John L Campbell’s O-licence was revoked in December and he was disqualified from holding an O-licence for an indefinite period of time and from acting as a transport manager for five years. Director Lynne Smith was disqualified indefinitely.
Davidson bought the business from Campbell in March 2015 shortly after his former business, Chillin Transport, was called to a public inquiry (PI). Following that hearing, Chillin and its directors were found to have made an attempt to circumvent the O-licensing regime by buying another operator’s O-licence and vehicles when its application to increase its authorisation was turned down.
Campbell told a DVSA examiner that he had no dealings with the O-licence since March 2015 and had sold the business to pay creditors and clear debts.
However, Campbell stayed on as a transport manager in name only and had no contact with Davidson or the company since the sale.
Another director named at Companies House, Lynne Smith, was found to have not had any involvement in the business. She was introduced to Campbell by Davidson, and Campbell thought she was going to take control of the business instead. However, Davidson had arranged the sale and had paid for the business.
At a PI last month, Campbell admitted that at the time of the sale he had not known of Davidson’s history as an operator. He apologised to the TC for not resigning as a transport manager, claiming he had been preoccupied with his own financial situation.
The company was also found to have been using an unauthorised operating centre; had breached the O-licence condition to notify the TC of changes; had lost its professional competence; did not have proper systems for record-keeping; and could not demonstrate financial standing.
The TC said there was “not a shred of trust” in the company or the individuals involved and said it had “degenerated into the territory of the outlaw”.
“With William Davidson it is crystal clear that: there are no redeeming features; that he cannot be trusted; that he will exploit and use others; and that he is shameless in his dealings and engagement with this jurisdiction,” the TC said.
Aitken said she made the decision to disqualify him from operating for the rest of his life as an indication of the seriousness of the situation.
She said Smith, who had not attended the PI, had “perpetrated a very serious deceit” on the O-licensing system.
While she admired Campbell’s desire to pay off creditors, Aitken said it was not ignorance but his own choices that had led to the PI.