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Published: 12:30, 03 March 2015
The owners of two Maidstone haulage companies have been banned from the industry for life after an inquiry heard how their criminal, dishonest and cowardly behaviour put road users at risk.
Sean Birch and Michael Collett, who own Detling Aerodrome-based firms Euro Logistics London Ltd and Euro Logistics Kent Ltd, have had their licences revoked for life by the Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton.
Mr Denton also indefinitely banned the transport manager for both firms, Paul Wimhurst, for his part in the operations and asked police and government officials to impound any vehicles registered to the companies.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reported the companies were operating without the correct licences and documents and using defective vehicles.
An inquiry heard how Euro Logistics Kent Ltd carried alcohol without the correct paperwork, resulting in a potential loss of excise duty and VAT of more than £74,000.
"Birch and Collett have presided over clearly criminal operations, paying no regard to the safety of other road users" — Nick Denton, Traffic Commissioner
Further evidence showed that vehicles registered to the company were being driven despite prohibitions being issued for roadworthiness and driver offences.
The DVSA reported that a total of 10 prohibition orders were issued to Euro Logistics London Ltd in the second half of last year.
Drivers for both companies had been fined for traffic offences and dangerous loads and the businesses failed to provide records relating to drivers’ hours and tachograph records.
Mr Denton said: “Both Mr Birch and Mr Collett have sought to evade their responsibilities as directors in the most cowardly and dishonest manner.
"I find that they have concocted a farrago of excuses and lies to excuse their non-appearance at the originally scheduled date of February 3 and then to justify their failure to appear on February 12.
He added: “There is no place in the industry for people such as Mr Birch and Mr Collett who have presided over clearly criminal operations, paying no regard to the safety of other road users. There is nothing to put in the balance in their favour.”
More by this authorEd McConnell