North East Wales

'Rogue' Prestatyn waste firm owners get 25-year HGV ban

A flat tyre on a lorry Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency identified a number of offences

Owners of a waste collection business have been banned from running commercial vehicles for 25 years.

Wales' Traffic Commissioner Nick Jones disqualified "rogue" Wasteaters owners Andrew and Elizabeth Hughes until 2042.

Investigators found some vehicles at the firm in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, had serious defects, no MOT, were untaxed and even unregistered and uninsured.

"This is an appalling case by any standards," said Mr Jones.

The licensing regulator revoked their HGV licences following a public inquiry, which neither defendants attended.

Examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) identified a number of offences relating to vehicles following numerous checks in north Wales in 2016.

In evidence to the public inquiry, Jonathan Woodward said that during his 12 years as a DVSA traffic examiner he had never seen a more blatant, consistent, comprehensive and wide-ranging disregard for road safety.

One driver, Christopher Jones, told the traffic commissioner he had been told by Mr Hughes, to abandon vehicles when stopped by the DVSA.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The owners allowed drivers to use unsafe lorries (not pictured)

He conceded he knew this could not be correct practice, but did as his employer instructed as a result of pressure.

"There has been deliberate and sustained illegal activity from this operator," concluded Mr Jones.

"I need to disqualify both partners for a very long period of time as this is an appalling case by any standards. Anything other than a very long disqualification will send totally the wrong message to compliant operators and industry."

The traffic commissioner said the partnership "sought to obtain a significant competitive advantage as a result of exceptionally serious failures to comply with regulatory regimes".

HGV driver Mr Jones was also disqualified from driving commercial vehicles for 18 months, with effect from 19 June 2017.