Traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney (pictured) has called on vehicle finance and leasing companies to ensure that the parties they are leasing their vehicles to are operating legally.
His warning came after he refused to return a truck to finance provider DPM Finance, because it knew it was being used by a company that did not have a valid O-licence to undertake the journey it was making.
The truck was being operated by B&J Transport, which holds a Bulgarian community authorisation, and was detained in September following the discovery of cabotage offences.
DVSA examiners discovered that the load it was carrying when it was stopped was the fourth cabotage journey in seven days.
DPM Finance applied to the TC for the truck’s return. It said it had provided Sissons with the finances to buy the truck and Sissons had provided a copy of an O-licence in the name of Adonia Freight, which had its O-licence revoked in 2014. This was despite the lease agreement being with Robert Sissons, who was trading as B&J Transport.
No online checks to see if the licence was valid had been made. DPM Finances told the TC that it checked O-licences online only when no paper copy was available.
The TC said that it was reasonable to expect that a company that finances vehicles within the scope of the O-licence regime should understand the advances that had been made over the past 10 to 15 years.
“In that context, it is unbelievable that an honest and reasonable finance company would not check the validity of an operator’s licence using the online system that has been in place 15 years and takes merely a few seconds to use,” added Rooney.