PCS Recycling O-licence revoked after investigation finds 'unsatisfactory system' for brake testing

Upminster-based PCS Recycling has had its restricted O-licence for 17 vehicles revoked following an investigation that revealed an unsatisfactory system of brake testing at the company.

In a written decision following a public inquiry (PI) in Eastbourne, Sarah Bell, London and the South East traffic commissioner (TC) also disqualified its directors, Patrick James Corbally and Patrick Lee Corbally for four years saying they were “unfit to hold a licence.”

The firm was granted an O-licence at a PI in March 2014, which was called due to an adverse history on a previous licence, but in 2015 the DVSA carried out an inspection into the company marked unsatisfactory.

PCS Recycling was called to another PI in October 2017 after Patrick James Corbally and Patrick Lee Corbally received suspended prison sentences for illegally depositing waste, including potentially hazardous material, in 2012 and 2013.

At that PI the company said its trucks were being given roller brake tests at every other preventative maintenance inspection (PMI). However, in November 2017, the operator received an S-marked prohibition after loose wheel nuts and an emissions cheat device were discovered on one of its vehicles.

A DVSA follow-up investigation in January 2018 found that PMI reports did not record any metered brake performance checks or road tests. Driver daily defect reports showed mainly nil defects but where defects were recorded, no action or rectification work was shown. In-house driver defect sheets had no provision to show defects were being reported to a responsible person, and the company’s maintenance contract was not available at the time of the DVSA visit.

Roadside encounters since May 2017 found a significant amount of drivers’ hours infringements as well as safety inspection sheets that did not record tyre tread depth or brake test results.

PCS Recycling told the TC it had recently engaged a transport consultant to carry out an audit, there had been recent staff training, and that it would now carry out a roller brake test at every PMI. However, TC Bell said: “This is a bad case. There have been numerous previous chances, including after the directors’ convictions for serious offences.

“The operator and both directors have proven themselves as unwilling to put compliance before commercial concerns. Despite copious advice and opportunities to prove themselves, they have instead chosen to be disingenuous, with a reckless approach to risk. It is only right and just that I now remove all concerned from the industry for a substantial period, to protect the hard working legitimate industry and for public protection.”

The TC said she also believed the emissions cheat device had been fitted by the operator.

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Loyalty to son costs operator his O-licence

Erith-based operator Joseph Jebb’s standard international O-licence for six vehicles will be revoked on 1 March after police officers caught his son driving one of his trucks without a licence. 

In a written decision following a public inquiry (PI) in Croydon last month, South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) disqualified Jebb from holding an O-licence for five years from 1 March and disqualified him indefinitely as a transport manager.

Provisional licence

On 19 June 2018 in Erith, south-east London, police officers stopped one of Jebb’s vehicles, a 32-tonne tipper, that was carrying a load of hardcore. The driver fled the scene but was detained after a chase. He initially gave a false name, however officers eventually established his identity as Jebb’s son Nicholas, who was wanted on recall to prison.

Nicholas only had a provisional category B driving licence and was driving without insurance and a tachograph card. He was later sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the offences.

Lack of tachograph

A police investigation showed that the vehicle stopped had been driven without a tachograph card on four other occasions in the 28 days before 19 June for periods ranging from 40 minutes to 1 hour 22 minutes.

Jebb told the TC that on 19 June his son had taken the vehicle, without his knowledge, to tip the hardcore, before it was inspected by a prospective purchaser as it was up for sale. He said he was unable to identify who had driven without a card on the four occasions in May and June, but that it was not his son.

In November 2013, Nicholas, who at the time was wanted for recall to prison after being found driving while disqualified two months earlier, had been a passenger in a vehicle driven by his father, which was stopped by police. However, Nicholas ran off before being detained by a pursuing officer.

Joseph later claimed to police that he did not know the identity of his passenger, saying he had picked him up from a travellers’ site. Also, Joseph had not fulfilled an undertaking, given at a PI in December 2014, that vehicles be given four roller-brake tests a year, in addition to the one at MoT.

Instead, vehicles had been given two such brake tests and there were no systems in place to prevent unauthorised drivers from driving his vehicles.

In addition, Joseph had not downloaded the tachograph unit of the stopped vehicle before its sale in early July 2018, which meant data on any driving without a card before May 2018 was unavailable to police or the inquiry.

Denton concluded that Nicholas had driven the vehicle stopped on 19 June without a tachograph card as well as on the four occasions in May and June, and that his father knew about it.

Correct entitlement

He said: “Although I have some sympathy with his loyalty to his son, the fact is that such loyalty should never override Mr Jebb’s responsibility to the wider public – to ensure that his vehicles are driven only by drivers holding the correct entitlement.

“I allowed Mr Jebb to retain his repute as a transport manager in 2014 after significant maintenance failings had been revealed, but this was in the expectation that he would fulfil his undertaking for vehicles to be roller-brake tested four times a year. In the event he did not.”

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