An Irish haulage firm has failed in its attempt to have its impounded lorry returned after its director admitted to the traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales that it had done “very little” to prevent illegal cabotage.
Speedogistic applied for the return of its HGV after the DVSA stopped it at a checksite in North Wales and suspected it had flouted cabotage laws.
The driver told the enforcement officer it had entered the UK unladen and had then undertaken two journeys to an Amazon depot in St Helens.
The traffic examiner said lorries were not allowed to enter the country empty and then carry out cabotage work and, in addition, the driver had not retained paperwork for the first load from St Helens to Holyhead – which was also in breach of cabotage rules.
The company appealed, on the grounds that it was unaware the vehicle was being used in contravention of the act, but in her written decision, TC Victoria Davies said she was not convinced.
“The applicant company had been sent a pre-impounding letter following a previous cabotage breach,” she said. “At no time has haulage within the UK been available to any operator who entered the country without a load.
“The applicant company’s vehicle entered the country without a load, in breach of basic cabotage rules.
“The vehicle, when stopped, was only carrying relevant documentation for the second internal movement, and not the first, which was also in breach of basic cabotage requirements.”
The TC added: “There was no evidence of any written instruction given to the driver who was acting on the applicant company’s behalf, of any systems in place to ensure that the planning of journeys of vehicles into the UK would, in the ordinary course of events, be compliant with the cabotage legislation, nor of the instructions and procedures in place to ensure that the driver had with him the necessary documents for inspection during roadside checks so that the cabotage requirements were complied with.
“Indeed, when asked what instructions the applicant company gave drivers engaged in cabotage movements, [director] Patrick Dockery’s response was ‘Previous to this, very little, to be honest’.
“I find that highly probative of a deliberate intent to deceive, or at least wilfully turning a blind eye.”