A couple who ran a Prestatyn waste collection firm have been banned from running HGVs for 25 years.
The Traffic Commissioner for Wales said Andrew and Elizabeth Hughes allowed drivers for ‘Wasteaters’ to use unsafe and uninsured lorries with serious defects, no tax or MOT.
Nick Jones told a public inquiry that the owners had deliberately sustained illegal activity and showed total disregard for the law.
One of the company’s drivers was also disqualified for eighteen months after admitting he was told by Mr Hughes to abandon vehicles when stopped by the DVSA. Christopher Jones told the commissioner he knew this would not be correct practice, but followed his employer’s instructions because of pressure.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said it found evidence that defective vehicles were being used over a prolonged period following numerous checks across North Wales last year. Traffic examiner Jonathan Woodward said he had never seen ”a more blatant, consistent, comprehensive and wide-ranging disregard for road safety.” during his twelve years in the role.
He added vehicles appeared to have been left untested for years and the operator failed to respond to the DVSA’s findings or tried to mislead officers and failed to attend compliance checks when necessary.
In his written judgement, the commissioner said Mr and Mrs Hughes were ”rogues” who needed to be disqualified for a ”very long period time” because it was an ”appalling case by any standards”.
He added ”Anything other than a very long disqualification will send totally the wrong message to compliant operators and industry…the partnership has sought to obtain a significant competitive advantage as a result of exceptionally serious failures to comply with regulatory regimes.”
Neither Mr Hughes or Mrs Hughes attended the inquiry. Christopher Jones’ ban from driving commercial vehicles will come into force later this month.
Source: BBC Cymru Wales