The licence of Midlands operator Hayes Freight has been revoked after it was used to operate vehicles more than a year after Hayes went into liquidation.
West Midlands TC Nicholas Denton made the decision after a public inquiry (PI) in Birmingham this month (9 May).
In addition he disqualified company director Dean Blake from holding any sort of O licence for five years and found that transport manager Adam Philip Hayes had lost his good repute. Hayes was also disqualified from being a transport manager for five years.
The continued use of the licence was discovered in November 2017 when a vehicle operated under the Hayes licence was stopped by the DVSA. The driver said he worked for Rima Freight whose sole director was Dean Blake, also the director of Hayes.
At a subsequent visit to Hayes operating centre in Wednesbury, for which it held a licence for 21 vehicles and 32 trailers, the DVSA was told that Hayes had been bought by Rima.
The PI heard that Rima did not have an O-licence. Further investigations also revealed that Dean Blake, not Rima, was the sole shareholder of Hayes.
It was also found that the operator was not collecting in drivers’ tachograph charts within the 42 day deadline and that the driver stopped at the roadside, Nelson Smith, had committed several 4.5 hour offences.
In January this year DVSA vehicle examiner Austin Jones made a further visit to the operating centre and recorded a very high trailer prohibition rate (50%), an S marked prohibition from October 2017 for an insecure load and serious brake defects, and a sporadic driver defect reporting system.
In the light of this and other evidence the TC suspended the Hayes licence on 13 March.
Shortly afterwards Dean Blake said in an e-mail to the TCs office that Rima owned Hayes and the two had always been treated as one and the same company.
In his written decision the TC said: “A check of Companies House records showed that this was simply not true: Dean Blake, not Rima, was the sole shareholder in Hayes.”
Blake himself did not attend the PI.
Denton said: “The one person who did have the courtesy to attend was driver Nelson Smith.”
In his findings Denton noted that Hayes had no professionally qualified transport manager since at least December 2016 and therefore lacked professional competence; that trucks had continued to operate during the period of suspension since 13 March; that the material change in the company in lending its licence to Rima had gone unreported; that prohibitions had been incurred; and that the operator had failed to ensure that drivers’ hours regulations were followed.
Denton added: “The operator lacks financial standing and professional competence. Revocation of the licence is therefore mandatory under Section 27(1)(a) of the 1995 Act.”
The TC also said that he also had doubts about whether the operator would abide by his decision.
He said: “Given that Mr Blake’s unlicensed operations have continued almost to this day, I do not have complete faith that he will comply with this decision.
"I am therefore requesting DVSA and the police to employ their ANPR and on-road resources to identify and stop vehicles operated by Hayes/Rima or Mr Blake. Any such vehicle they henceforth find carrying goods on the public road will be liable to be impounded.”