Northern Ireland

Haulage firm fined for falsifying mileage and drivers' hours

A County Armagh haulage company has been fined £8,700 for falsifying mileage and the amount of hours worked by its drivers.

The charges related to a targeted investigation into the operation of 12 vehicles by Landmark Haulage Limited, Derrycarne Road, Portadown.

Disqualification orders were also made against the company's two directors.

Mark and Lorraine Somerville are banned from holding a company directorship for 11 years.

The company was fined £500 on each of 12 counts of producing, supplying and/or installing a device designed to interfere with the proper operation of tachograph recording equipment at Craigavon Magistrates' Court on Monday.

It was also fined £150 on each of 10 specimen counts of making a false entry and £200 on each of six counts of failing to produce tachograph records.

Eight drivers employed by the company at the time of the investigation had been dealt with by an earlier court and received combined fines totalling £2,900 for tachograph and drivers hours offences.

On 29 November 2009 officers from the Driver & Vehicle Agency supported by the PSNI conducted a targeted operation against Landmark Haulage Limited and discovered 12 vehicles operated by the company with devices capable of interrupting the signals to the tachograph recording equipment.

Subsequent analysis of the company's records revealed that between October 2009 and November 2009 over 40,000 kilometres had not been properly accounted for.

The legislation relating to tachographs and drivers' hours is designed to ensure the safety of road users from over tired drivers as well as providing for fair competition in the haulage industry and protecting the natural and built environment.

Welcoming the ruling, head of the PSNI's road and armed support, Supt Muir Clark said: "While we welcome the courting ruling, which has been delivered by working in partnership with our Driver and Vehicle Agency colleagues, it is particularly disappointing that the haulage operator and its employees risked the lives of other innocent road users," he said.

"I have no doubt that this joint operation has made our roads safer and hope that the court imposed fines and disqualifications will serve as a strong warning to others."

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