North West Wales

North Wales Police 'can keep confiscated lorries'

A judge says North Wales Police can retain lorries and trailers valued at 60,000 euros (£52,400) which have been confiscated from an Irish firm.

District Judge Richard Clancy made the ruling against O'Leary International of Wexford, Irish Republic, after drivers broke European driving regulations.

The decision was made at a hearing under the Police Property Act at Dolgellau court.

Afterwards, police said the case showed "flouting the law" can prove "costly".

The judge ruled that three of the four drivers stopped by police knew about the breaches of driving regulations and that company papers were issued to drivers claiming that they had not exceeded the driving limits prior to being stopped.

'Commercial interest'

The judge said he did not challenge the decisions by magistrates or crown court on the sentences of the drivers, some of whom were jailed.

"I am dealing with a hearing under the Police Property Act that the company did not know or had knowledge of the offences and want their vehicles and trailers returned," he said.

"But I find that the papers that drivers carried with them had the company's name, address, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on them and there was a commercial interest for the company.

"On balance all four claims fail and the police can retain the vehicles," he said.

He awarded police costs of £1,300 against the company.

After the hearing, Sgt Ifan Jones from North Wales Police's commercial vehicle unit, said: "The circumstances surrounding the vehicle seizure demonstrate that North Wales Police will take positive action against anyone found to be flouting the law.

"As this application has proved, when drivers are found to have committed an offence or offences the penalties on the individual and the company concerned are serious and can prove extremely costly."

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