Army veteran charged with exceeding HGV driving hours says Yorkshire bed company put him under pressure

James Edward Bentley, 39, appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to five counts of knowingly making a false record or entry on his tachograph between March and May 2021. He denied a further three counts. The court was told that Bentley left the armed forces in 2016 and took a HGV driving job with a bed company based in Batley, making deliveries to Scotland and Ireland.

His defence lawyer said that Bentley had been put in an 'impossible position' and 'under pressure to comply with demands to meet targets' by the firm, which was named in court.

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He has now moved to work for another bed manufacturer with a 'healthier attitude' towards employees' health and safety. However, Judge Jonathan Rose said the claims could only form part of Bentley's mitigation if it was proven that the business was being investigated for potential breaches of regulations itself. Judge Rose added that he considered the offences 'very serious' and the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which is prosecuting Bentley, pointed out that there are options for drivers to be able to make a note of times they have exceeded their hours if genuinely unable to find somewhere to safely park their lorry, thus avoiding committing an offence.

Judge Rose told Bentley that a prison sentence was possible and adjourned the case for sentencing in November.