The North East deputy traffic commissioner has refused an application by the son of a formerly disqualified operator, after evidence emerged one of its vehicles had been driven for 36,000km without an O-licence.
Kevin Munford had applied for a licence for four vehicles and six trailers in the name of Stirk House Logistics, but during the application process he was pulled over twice by DVSA officers and found to be driving unlawfully. When challenged by the DVSA, Munford claimed to be working for a company called Riley Plant & Demolition, but through his solicitors he later claimed that this was meant as “a joke”, because he was carrying hay and it was obvious he wasn’t working for a demolition firm.
The operator appeared before DTC Simon Evans at a Leeds public inquiry due to the unlawful use of an HGV, but also because of Munford’s links to previous failed licences. These included Geoffrey Munford – in the name of Kevin’s father – which was surrendered in 2011; Geoffrey F Munford, which entered administration in 2013; Munford Haulage, which had its licence revoked in 2016 and for which Kevin was transport manager; and a second licence, again under the name of Munford Haulage, for which Kevin was director and which entered liquidation in December 2019.
In a written decision, the DTC acknowledged that the latest licence application was not required to support the former container haulage work, which had been the main feature of earlier family licences. He added that he had no concerns in Kevin’s son Steven being the proposed transport manager and that financial standing was comfortably met.
However, Evans also said that even though there had been delays during the pandemic in getting applications to hearings, the coronavirus was no justification for the operator driving an HGV without a licence. “The extent of the use of the vehicle has been very great with many kilometres covered,” the DTC said. “I find that I cannot accept the explanation offered about the initial response to DVSA during which he named another operator, said to be a joke, albeit I do accept that the falsity was soon abandoned.” He added: “I find on the balance of probabilities that the requirement of good repute is not presently met.”