Attempt to conceal past catches up with director

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A director with a string of failed companies to his name has been refused his latest licence application after the traffic commissioner found he had attempted to conceal his past.

Sole director Mark Pickering had applied for a restricted licence for five HGVs in the name of Venture Pressings in Kings Norton, but he made no mention of his previous businesses. These included Talco Tool Storage, which entered liquidation in 2008; Talco Banding & Seals, which had its licence revoked in 2010 and Venture Maintenance Services, which continued to operate vehicles after it entered liquidation in 2012. On his latest application form, Pickering stated he had never had a licence revoked and had never attended a PI.

TC Nicholas Denton refused an interim licence and called the operator to a PI in Birmingham. The day before it was scheduled to take place, Pickering emailed the TC’s office to say he would not be appearing at the PI, but “in view of the extreme lateness” of the communication, TC Denton decided to continue with the inquiry.

In a written decision, he said Pickering was not a fit person to hold an operator’s licence: “He was explicitly warned at the public inquiry in March 2014 for having operated goods vehicles after the entity holding the licence had entered liquidation,” he said.

“Despite that warning, he has done exactly the same again, with Venture Pressings Ltd operating vehicles under the guise of the licence issued to Venture Steels Ltd after the latter company had entered liquidation.”

‘Fronting’ concerns result in licence refusal

O-licence

An application to run 10 HGVs has been refused after the traffic commissioner found that the Wiltshire haulier was “more likely than not” a front for two businesses that had their licences revoked.

3TC Logistics made its application just 17 days after TC Kevin Rooney made a revocation order for BKG Transport and Whiteparish Transport, both of which were run by the father and uncle of Tom Gover who was named as a director of 3TC. The operating centre was also the same address and the authority requested at application was the same as that proposed for a merged BKG/Whiteparish operation shortly before the TC revoked the licences in 2018.

At a Bristol public inquiry, Tom Gover and Carlo Ward appeared before the TC to discuss 3TC’s application and their links to the revoked licences.

Gover said he had only worked at BKG as a student and he had no regulatory or criminal adverse history. Ward confirmed he was still involved with an MOD contract at BKG, but that he had no management role and other than paying rent to BKG for a warehouse, 3TC had no relationship with the haulier.

On behalf of 3TC, solicitor David Thompson said it had been running for more than four years as a freight forwarder and operating 3.5-tonne vans and so was therefore not acting as a front for businesses that had their licences revoked in 2018. He acknowledged that Tom Gover’s relationship to the revoked companies’ directors was “difficult”, but not his fault.

However, TC Rooney called into question Ward’s evidence that he was just a junior employee at BKG and Whiteparish: “I find that Carlo Ward either allowed me to be lied to and misled in June 2018 or he is lying to me now,” he said in a written decision.

“Given his attendance at the hearings in June 2018, it is more likely than not that his role within those businesses was at least influential and he was a senior manager during the period of significant non-compliance.”

The TC added that the indications were that the Gover family were treating all three businesses as mutually interchangeable and concluded: “I find it more likely than not that this application is a front for a continuing operation of vehicles by either Tony Gover and Terry Gover as part of a related group of businesses owned in all or in part by the Gover family and/or members thereof.”