Operators sanctioned for lending O-licence discs

Nick Denton, traffic commissioner (TC) for London and the South East, has curtailed a London operator’s licence and disqualified a transport manager for three months after they were found to have aided an illegal vehicle operation.

The TC has reduced Darrells Transport Services’ authorisation from two vehicles to one for three months after its director, Noel Darrell, specified an additional fuel tanker on the company’s O-licence without the knowledge of its transport manager.

The tanker was owned and operated by Mulberry Automotives, a company that had its application for an O-licence refused by Denton earlier this year, but displayed a disc issued to Darrells Transport Services.

A public inquiry (PI) in Eastbourne on 8 October was told that Darrell fabricated invoices to show delivery work undertaken for Mulberry and the hire of the vehicle, which the TC found had been created to cover up the unauthorised operation by Mulberry.

The practices came to the TC’s attention while he considered Mulberry Automotives’ application at a hearing in July. Its director, Subash Choudry, admitted that the vehicle had been operated using a borrowed O-licence disc .

Darrell had failed to check whether the vehicle’s driver had an ADR licence or was qualified to transport fuel.

Denton said: “Mr Darrell has indubitably been extremely foolish ?and reckless: foolish in that he accepted Mr Choudry’s proposed deal without question and added a fuel tanker belonging to another company to his licence, without mentioning this to his transport manager; reckless in that he thought he could add a fuel tanker to his licence without any knowledge of the rules applying to the carriage of dangerous goods.”

Michael Bowyer, transport manager at Swanscombe, Kent-based MJD Services (UK), was called to the October PI as he had added Mulberry’s vehicles to MJD’s O-licence without informing directors Philip Skelton ?and Stephen Dole. The vehicles were being operated by Mulberry Automotives.

Bowyer claimed that, as he had a 50% shareholding in the Mulberry business, he incorrectly believed that ?its vehicles could be added to the ?MJD Services (UK) O-licence.

Denton disqualified Bowyer from acting as a transport manager for three months and said a reputable transport manager would have realised the arrangements suggested by Mulberry were “bogus and entirely illegal”.

The TC added: “Mr Bowyer failed to realise this at the time the arrangement was proposed, and for more than four months afterwards – even after my staff had queried the arrangement with him. The scales fell from his eyes only when the public inquiry was called.

“Both cases show that operators ?and transport managers should work closely together and that no one person should have responsibility for doing everything without any supervision or cross-checking.”

MJD Services (UK) is a separate legal entity to MJD Containers and MJD Logistics (UK) and holds its own O-licence.

Scania's new Maidstone premises inaugurated

Scania has inaugurated its new £6m commercial vehicle service centre in Maidstone.

Her Excellency Nicola Clase, Sweden's ambassador to the UK, officially opened the facility at a ceremony attended by 100 operators, Scania executives and representatives from site developer, Gallagher Group.

The 2.5-acre site, situated on the A229 just off junction 6 of the M20, is one of the first of a new generation of purpose-built UK premises constructed in accordance with a global template created by Scania.

It has five drive-through workshop bays and an ATF lane.

Also offered is a full Scania parts service, including parts for all makes, trailers and ancillary components.

The Kent site also houses new, used and rental truck operations.

Scania Maidstone is initially employing 34 technicians, parts and admin staff, a figure expected to rise significantly.

Claes Jacobsson, MD of Scania (Great Britain) said: “Together with our purpose-built Inverness premises, which opened earlier this year, Scania Maidstone represents the latest major investment in our UK network infrastructure.”