We spotted two news stories this month about non-compliant removals companies – both based in the Midlands – coming up against the Traffic Commissioner and ultimately losing their O Licences.

The first of these stories was spotted in Commercial Motor. West Midlands Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton held two Public Inquiries into the actions of Cleavers Removals, and found – amongst other things – that:

• They had operated without a licence since 2014, relying “in error” on a sole trader licence belonging to one of Cleavers Removals’ directors Hardip Singh Bains.
• The company had a high MoT failure rate of 38% over the past two years and 56% over the last five. There were very few inspection records available and those that were available were not fully completed.
• The Directors told the DVSA that their Transport Manager was on holiday, whereas it later transpired that he had retired several years earlier.
• At a second PI, now sole Director Baljit Singh Bains claimed that the company was relying on leased 3.5-tonne vehicles, and their HGVs had been parked up. The TC requested further data, which showed some lorries had moved up to 1,760km.

In his conclusion, TC Nick Denton said that although improvements had been made, Baljit had deliberately misled the DVSA examiner and he could not be trusted, and that the company was not of good repute. He therefore refused the licence application.

Another story was spotted on www.ukhaulier.co.uk, and covered the 3 year disqualification of A J Removals & Storage Ltd and company director Azam Amin, as of 1st July 2019. In this case the facts as determined by the DVSA were as follows:

• A DVSA Traffic Examiner stopped Mr Amin in an empty removals vehicle on 21st May 2018. Mr Amin said that he was returning from a job back to his depot. He was not using his tachograph card.
• The Traffic Examiner issued him with a 24 hour driving prohibition and a £300 fixed penalty. He explained he had to immobilise the vehicle and went back to his own vehicle to retrieve the equipment, at which point Mr Amin drove away.
• Mr Amin then appealed to the DVSA against the fixed penalty, stating that he was using the vehicle for unpaid work for a friend on his day off. He produced a signed letter from his ‘friend’ to corroborate this.
• On investigation, the DVSA found that the ‘friend’ was in fact a customer of A J Removals & Storage, who had paid them to move her on the day in question. Mr Amin had asked her to sign the pre-prepared letter as a favour.

Due to this, Azam Amin has lost his good repute as a Traffic Manager and faces a three year disqualification as of 1st July 2019, and the company have lost their O Licence.