Subject of BBC documentary probably running Scots firm

Chris Tindall
July 13, 2023

The traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland has refused to grant a licence to a Johnstone operator after finding that a man implicated in a BBC documentary over illegal waste disposal was probably running the business.

PHR Grab Hire was already running on interim authority, but it had applied for a standard international licence. At a Glasgow public inquiry (PI) to consider the application, TC Claire Gilmore heard evidence from the sole director and transport manager
Ian McNaught.

He said he had started the business and he drove a grab hire lorry undertaking utilities work.

McNaught also admitted that his uncle, Eric Morrison snr, was more involved in the business than he had previously suggested.

Morrison had been in a TV programme about waste crime and it involved the Rannoch Road site where the applicant’s operating centre was.

In her written decision, the TC said: “Eric Morrison snr had been filmed in the documentary wearing clothing bearing a ‘PHR Services’ logo and that logo had also been seen elsewhere on-site.

“There were several documents contained in the brief and lodged for the inquiry – including email correspondence about the PHR Grab Hire application and a copy of the company’s headed notepaper – which bore Eric Morrison’s name.”

McNaught said he was supporting his uncle and aunt financially and that invoices for ‘rent’ lodged as part of the PI amounted to financial support for them.

However, the TC said: “It was put to Mr McNaught that the vehicles which had been specified on his licence belonged to Eric Morrison snr; the operating centre was owned by Eric Morrison snr; he was paying significant sums to Eric Morrison snr for the use of the operating centre; Eric Morrison snr carried out, and was paid for, the inspections on the vehicles; and most of the correspondence before me relating to the business had Eric Morrison’s contact details on it.

“Mr McNaught denied that Eric Morrison snr had any involvement in running his business. He conceded, however, that it may look that way, considering the evidence.”

The TC concluded that McNaught’s evidence was implausible and unreliable, and as the firm had also failed to maintain the appropriate financial standing, she refused the application.

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and quickly realised there was enough going on to keep him busy for a very long time. He’s covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning, Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of safe and secure lorry parks and he helped secure the release of a lorry driver in a Polish jail due to misuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

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