Forged document aggravates ‘hopeless’ application

HSE

A Doncaster operator attempted to deceive a deputy traffic commissioner (TC) into believing it had interim authority by forging an official letter, despite it being peppered with spelling errors.

North East Traffic Area deputy TC Simon Evans said scrutiny of a document provided to him at a Leeds public inquiry (PI) by BSL Transport revealed that a “very clumsy attempt” was made to transform a refusal letter into a grant letter.

The company’s application to operate three HGVs and four trailers was the sixth since December 2020 and none had resulted in the grant of a licence.

He said the central issue with each failed application was the inability to demonstrate financial standing.

Its original licence was revoked in November 2020, and despite no interim authority being granted since that time, the company continued to operate lorries.

On one occasion, BSL Transport was hauled before Ipswich Magistrates in 2021 and fined £800 for the offence. However, this did not stop the operator from continuing to run vehicles illegally.

In the TC’s written decision, he said ANPR data for a period between June and September 2022 showed that two of the firm’s vehicles had been used on the roads on more than 400 occasions.

BSL director Sarah Mounsey did not attend the PI to consider its latest application, but she authorised her partner David Lister – described as a company manager – to act on her behalf. Lister presented Evans with a letter from the Office of the TC purporting to show that BSL Transport had been granted interim authority.

However, the DTC said: “I noted however that the second paragraph of it was littered with grammatical and spelling errors and provides an inconsistent message.

“Having paused the hearing to check the position, since it was my understanding that no interim licence had been granted, my staff provided me with a copy of a refusal letter which had been sent to the applicant on the same date.

“Comparing the two, it is quite clear that a very clumsy attempt has been made to transform the ‘refusal letter’ into a ‘grant letter’.”

Refusing the application, Evans said the production of what must have been clear to the company was a forged letter, “only serves to compound what I must regard as a hopeless application”.