Transport managers have been warned to take “great care” over the details they supply potential operators after a rogue haulier fraudulently used their identity to suggest professional competence.
Hampshire-based LPL Transport has now had its licence revoked and its directors disqualified indefinitely after west of England traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney found it had added transport manager names to its licence without consent. Rooney said that transport managers Elena Damian and Chris Watkins were innocent, but that they had also been naïve and that not keeping secure key details such as copies of their qualifications and their dates of birth “allows dangerous operators to operate under the cloak of legality.”
LPL Transport failed to attend a public inquiry during which evidence was given that Damian and Watkins had never agreed for their names to be added to its licence.
Damian said she had met with a woman called Sylwia to discuss transport management arrangements and had provided copies of her qualifications. She later found out she had been added to the operator’s licence without agreement and so she contacted the firm and requested her removal.
Watkins said he had never heard of LPL Transport, but that a friend had provided the company with his details as a possible contact. He was unaware he had been added to the licence until the operator licensing system contacted him “out of the blue”.
In his decision, the TC said the operator had been acting as a front for Andy Transport, which had previously had its licence revoked, as well as for Alpha1 Logistic – also known as CLS Logistics - which had its licence application refused.
It had also been a front for Sylwia Repec, also known as Sylwia Gawrysiak, and Andrzej Repec, who were the de facto directors of LPL. Rooney said the company had also operated vehicles without insurance, drivers’ hours offences had been committed and financial standing was not satisfied. “There is no evidence whatsoever that this operator has anything approaching good repute,” he said.
Sylwia and Andrzej, as well as director Lukasz Prozny, were disqualified for an indefinite period not less than 10 years, but the TC also noted: “All transport managers, especially external transport managers, must take great care over the arrangements they embark upon.”