Haulier loses licence for breach of trust

An operator that traded for more than two years without a transport manager has had its licence revoked and its director disqualified.

Deputy traffic commissioner (TC) John Baker said Hall Bros Transport deserved to be put out of business after trust was “fundamentally breached” by its director’s insistence that there was a transport manager in place at the Surrey haulage firm when the evidence suggested otherwise.

A public inquiry (PI) was called after uncertainty arose over whether or not the company could show the necessary financial standing for two vehicles and a trailer.

However, while the investigation into finances was ongoing, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) received a letter from the nominated transport manager Alan Firkins in which he said he had only been employed for six weeks and resigned in 2015.

This was disputed by Hall Bros Transport’s director Peter Hall and witness Robert Hall, who claimed Firkins had remained transport manager up until a new transport manager was nominated in 2017.

At the PI, Firkins produced bank statements as proof of his employment status during this time, but accepted he had been wrong in not notifying the TC himself of his resignation.

The directors claimed Firkins had continued as transport manager for many months longer than he had said, but had done so without payment.

Summing up, the TC said the case hinged on whose version of events he believed and added: “I have no hesitation in finding that the evidence and version of events provided by Mr Firkins is more likely than not to be true. It is fanciful to suggest that a professional transport manager would undertake those duties at the premises of a former employer for over two years without any remuneration or discussions with the operator.”

As a result, deputy TC Baker revoked the licence and disqualified Peter Hall for two years. He also said that as Robert Hall was not a director, he could make no order in respect of him but any future applications by him will be referred to the TC.

He added that Firkins’ repute was retained, but tarnished for failing to notify the TC of his resignation.

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'Blatant disregard' over records leads to disqualification

An operator given “numerous chances to demonstrate that he can be compliant” has been disqualified after failing to provide the DVSA with maintenance and drivers’ hours records.

Vincent Larkin was disqualified for two years and his licence in the trading name of Olympic Scaffolding was revoked following an Eastbourne public inquiry (PI) before deputy TC John Baker.

In 2018, the DVSA requested records from Larkin so it could carry out an assessment of compliance. Some documents were sent but a large number were not and, along with a new application for a company called On Point Construction that was using the same address, the operator was called to the PI.

On Point Construction director Sohayla Imanpour told the PI that her business had been running smaller vehicles but she was now applying for an operator’s licence with Larkin as joint director in order to share the workload.

However, DTC Baker ruled action needed to be taken in light of the “very poor previous history and the blatant disregard of the valid request made by the DVSA officers.”

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