Facebook comments scupper skip hire application

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A skip hire business has had its licence application refused after Facebook evidence emerged suggesting that it was already operating before a decision was made by the traffic commissioner.

In his written decision, West Midlands TC Nick Denton said there was considerable evidence that South Birmingham Skip Hire was operating without a licence, including “appreciative comments from customers” published on its Facebook page. Sole director Shane Baker appeared at a virtual PI due to concerns that his application was a means for disqualified director Christopher O’Donnell to circumvent licensing requirements.

O’Donnell had been director of Birmingham Skips until he attended a PI in 2020 due to insufficient finances and it became clear that he had acquired the assets of insolvent haulier Birmingham South Skips, despite statements to the contrary. The licence belonging to the Birmingham Skips was then revoked. At the latest PI, Baker told the TC he had no link with O’Donnell other than being employed as a driver for Birmingham Skips for a few months.

TC Denton asked him why bank statements for South Birmingham Skip Hire showed frequent large payments for fuel and numerous payments from various bodies and individuals with the reference ‘skip’. Baker claimed he had been providing waste removal services using builders’ bags and a van, but Denton was not convinced.

In his written decision, the TC said: “It was then drawn to my attention that the company’s Facebook page contained several photographs of skips clearly marked South Birmingham Skip Hire Ltd placed on public roads and being carried by an HGV.

“Mr Baker explained that he had had three skips painted in the South Birmingham Skip Hire livery in anticipation of the application being granted and, when that was not forthcoming by the seven week target date, had contracted with a man with a lorry to deliver and recover the skips. This person subsequently disappeared and was not contactable.”

Concluding, Denton said: “The balance of probability points heavily towards skip operations having already commenced in advance of the application being considered, and that the operation is a continuation of the business of the disqualified Birmingham Skips Ltd.”

He found that Baker was not a fit person to hold a licence and refused the application.

 

TVS Group takes over Wilcox

TVS Wisbech factory

Total Vehicle Solutions (TVS) Group, the Wisbech-based manufacturer of commercial vehicle ancillaries (pictured), has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Wilcox Group Ltd, makers of aluminium rigid and trailer tipping bodies and exclusive UK agents for CIFA Mixers. This is TVS Group’s first acquisition since its 2019 creation, which brought together SB Components, Priden Engineering and McPhee mixers.

The founders of the Wilcox business, which operates out of a 45,000sq ft facility in Market Deeping and employs 100 staff, Vito Ronzano and Chris Bartlett, will continue to lead it under the new ownership.

TVS Group executive chairman Craig Harris said: “Wilcox brings another leading UK specialist manufacturing firm into TVS Group. It gives me great pleasure to welcome the highly skilled team led by Vito and Chris, who have led the business from strength to strength in recent years. We have had the pleasure of working with Wilcox on a number of occasions and know how highly regarded the business is in the industry. Wilcox will expand our customer offer as we continue to build the TVS Group as the leading player in providing manufacturing solutions to the commercial and industrial vehicle industry in the UK and Europe.”

Wilcox MD Ronzano added “This is a significant milestone for Wilcox and we are excited to be joining TVS Group who can take our growth to the next level. We look forward to offering our clients even more services and products and pooling expertise and resources with other TVS Group companies. Chris Bartlett and I would like to thank the whole team at Wilcox for their continued hard work and dedication, especially over the last year, which has seen has us continue to deliver for customers to the highest standard, despite the challenges of the pandemic.”