A haulier that continued to operate trucks from an unauthorised operating centre after it had gone into liquidation has been stripped of its O-licence.
West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton found there was an “almost complete lack of positive factors” in the case against Stourbridge-based TMB International (Haulage).
He said the nature of the non-compliance from director and transport manager Tony Brookes had been "serious, sustained and deliberate", as he continued to operate vehicles despite knowing the firm had gone into liquidation in July 2016.
Brookes was banned from holding an O-licence for five years and disqualified from acting as a transport manager for an indefinite period of time.
The firm came to the TCs attention after a truck was stopped by the DVSA in August, which identified that a driver had been creating false tachograph records to disguise daily rest offences. He had been removing his card towards the end of his shift and continued to drive.
A visit to the operating centre listed on the firm’s O-licence revealed it had not used the site for over a year, and had instead been using one in Cradley Heath, Sandwell.
It emerged the operator had no means of downloading from vehicle tachograph units and did not know how to perform such downloads; did not keep Driver CPC or copies of driving licences; and had failed to notify the TC that it had gone into liquidation.
A DVSA examiner told a public inquiry last month he had seen evidence that Brookes had downloaded driver cards regularly, but he had been unable to find the card used to download vehicle units on the day of the examiner’s visit.
The TC said that Brookes’s admission that he did not know how to use a vehicle unit card strongly implied downloads were not carried out, despite the operator having digital vehicles on its fleet since 2012.
Denton also noted the firm owed more than £151,000 when it went into liquidation last year, including £3,200 to Border Force in the form of a fine for clandestine entrants.
He said revocation was mandatory as the firm “clearly lacks the required financial standing” due to it being in liquidation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, even if the company had not entered liquidation, the serious nature of the other adverse findings and the almost complete lack of positive factors are such as would have caused me not to accord any period of grace in which to re-establish financial standing or nominate a new transport manager,” Denton said.
He requested that the police and DVSA use ANPR and on-road resources to stop trucks operated by the company, as he said he had limited faith that it would comply with the revocation.