Fuel thieves target Gloucestershire

A Worcester operator whose one specified HGV failed its MoT every year for five years has had his licence revoked and been disqualified indefinitely as a transport manager. West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton received a report from the DVSA showing that the lorry used by Henry Herbert Cottrill had failed its MoT each year since 2014. In addition, no preventative maintenance inspection reports existed, because the operator considered this to be “a waste of paper” as his son carried out the maintenance.

In a written decision following a virtual public inquiry, Denton said it had become apparent sole trader Cottrill had operated for years in partnership with his wife and more recently, in partnership with his wife and son, but that no licence application was ever submitted for this arrangement. Cottrill blamed the MoT failures on MoT testers and the “hassle” they gave him. He told the TC that the obligation to keep maintenance records for vehicles was “all about ticking the bloody boxes” and claimed that a DVSA vehicle examiner had given his HGV a clean bill of health when he visited.

However, the VE report specifically stated that he had not inspected the vehicle. When TC Denton asked Cottrill a simple question about drivers’ hours rules, it emerged that he did not know how long a driver could drive for before taking a break and had to be given the answer by his son. Summing up, the TC said Cottrill had no understanding at all of the responsibilities and duties of a modern-day transport manager and was dismissive of the requirement to keep written records:

“Henry Herbert Cottrill is not of good repute, either as operator or transport manager,” the TC stated.

Following the PI, the TC received a communication from Cottrill saying he wished to surrender the licence.

In his written decision, TC Denton said: “Had he offered to surrender the licence before the inquiry was held I might have accepted it, but given that an inquiry – with all its attendant trouble and expense – was held and in the light of the evidence which emerged during it, I have decided not to accept the surrender but to take the decisions set out above.”

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