Fuel thieves target Gloucestershire

HMRC

Truck drivers in Gloucestershire are being warned to be aware of fuel thieves after several incidents of diesel being siphoned out of vehicles.

Drivers are being told to be particularly wary when leaving their cabs unoccupied or parked up in lay-bys.

Two incidents have been reported in the Cotswolds and a third in Stonehouse.

In the first, which took place at around 11pm on 10 June while a lorry was parked in a lay-by on the A417 near Elkstone, the offenders approached the vehicle while the driver was sleeping before siphoning out an unknown amount of diesel.

The second incident in the Cotswolds was reported on 16 June while a lorry was parked at Gloucester Beeches.

It is believed the offenders siphoned the diesel out at some time between 10pm and 2.45am before leaving in an unknown vehicle.

The third incident was reported at a trading estate in Stonehouse on 21 June after a driver noticed unknown offenders had unlocked the diesel cap before starting to siphon fuel. It is believed they were disturbed before leaving in what is thought to have been a yellow van.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police.

Constant MoT failures cost operator his O-licence

O-licence

A Worcester operator whose one specified HGV failed its MoT every year for five years has had his licence revoked and been disqualified indefinitely as a transport manager.

West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton received a report from the DVSA showing that the lorry used by Henry Herbert Cottrill had failed its MoT each year since 2014.

In addition, no preventative maintenance inspection reports existed, because the operator considered this to be “a waste of paper” as his son carried out the maintenance.

In a written decision following a virtual public inquiry, Denton said it had become apparent sole trader Cottrill had operated for years in partnership with his wife and more recently, in partnership with his wife and son, but that no licence application was ever submitted for this arrangement.

Cottrill blamed the MoT failures on MoT testers and the “hassle” they gave him. He told the TC that the obligation to keep maintenance records for vehicles was “all about ticking the bloody boxes” and claimed that a DVSA vehicle examiner had given his HGV a clean bill of health when he visited.

However, the VE report specifically stated that he had not inspected the vehicle.

When TC Denton asked Cottrill a simple question about drivers’ hours rules, it emerged that he did not know how long a driver could drive for before taking a break and had to be given the answer by his son.

Summing up, the TC said Cottrill had no understanding at all of the responsibilities and duties of a modern-day transport manager and was dismissive of the requirement to keep written records:

“Henry Herbert Cottrill is not of good repute, either as operator or transport manager,” the TC stated.

Following the PI, the TC received a communication from Cottrill saying he wished to surrender the licence.

In his written decision, TC Denton said: “Had he offered to surrender the licence before the inquiry was held I might have accepted it, but given that an inquiry – with all its attendant trouble and expense – was held and in the light of the evidence which emerged during it, I have decided not to accept the surrender but to take the decisions set out above.”