Llanelli-based haulier K&S Transport has had its licence revoked at a public inquiry in the wake of a DVSA investigation last year.
Welsh TC Nick Jones heard that the investigation came about after a roadside check resulted in an S-marked prohibition for an insecure brake air reservoir.
A subsequent visit to the firm’s operating centre at Llwyncelyn did not go down well, heard the PI, with transport manager Steven Handford becoming “irate and confrontational, telling the examiner he had no right to visit without an appointment”.
Handford also questioned the examiner’s legitimate right to seize maintenance records.
The investigation revealed poor record keeping, a bad MOT test history and a high prohibition rate at roadside encounters. In addition, the examiner found workshop pit areas not illuminated and partially flooded. Underside inspections were judged to be inadequate and some documents seemed to have been falsified.
Although Handford had earlier made allegations of misconduct by the DVSA examiner, the TC dismissed these allegations.
Nobody from K&S Transport attended the PI.
K&S itself went into administration in February.
Jones said he entirely accepted the DVSA version of events. He added: “Any allegation of corruption or misbehaviour by DVSA staff has not been substantiated with any evidence. It is clear that allegations were made in an endeavour to deflect diligent DVSA examiners in conducting an investigation.”
The TC added that earlier efforts to help Handford improve matters had not had a good result.
Jones said: “Failings had been identified previously at the earlier preliminary hearing before me and as a result Steven Handford attended a two-day transport manager refresher course. This does not appear to have resulted in any increase in knowledge or awareness of the responsibilities of a transport manager.
"It is clear to me that Steven Handford was the individual with the title of transport manager but he had little or no real control, his concept of managing was to shout at people telling them to get something done.”
As well as revoking the licence, the TC ruled that the K&S had lost its good repute, no longer satisfied the financial standing requirement and was no longer professionally competent.
In addition, Steven Handford lost his repute as a transport manager and was disqualified from holding or applying for a transport manager’s job anywhere in the EU indefinitely.
K&S had held its standard national licence since 2013 and until the PI had authorisation for six vehicles and six trailers.
It sole director was Katrina Sherwin but the TC made no disqualification for her because “she was fully cooperative with DVSA officials and sought to be open and helpful at all times".
The TC added: “I have little doubt that Katrina Sherwin will regret that her family has allowed her to be nominated as sole director.”