A haulier who forged a former transport manager’s signature to hide the fact that nobody had been fulfilling the role for 27 years has been disqualified from the industry.
Daniel Vaughan Edmondson, who traded as D V Edmondson Transport, was banned from holding or obtaining an O-licence for 30 months following a public inquiry last month.
He also had his O-licence revoked from 10 February.
North West deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Simon Evans found that nominated transport manager Charles Edmondson had not been carrying out his role since 1989, when the O-licence was first obtained.
Daniel Edmondson, who operates from Heysham Port in North Lancashire, admitted that until 2005 the transport manager arrangement had been in name only, and Charles Edmondson had never visited, looked at documents, or offered advice.
His only remuneration was a bottle of whisky at Christmas.
A family dispute in 2005 saw the operator and transport manager lose contact and they have not spoken since then, despite Charles Edmondson remaining on the O-licence.
Daniel Edmondson claimed he never received a letter of resignation from the transport manager.
The haulier also admitted to forging Charles Edmondson’s signature on the transport manager questionnaire that was issued to operators in 2011, as well as signing his own name to confirm that the information was true and correct.
He told the deputy TC that he had thought about the need to nominate a transport manager but instead carried out the duties himself and continued operating.
The offence came to light in June 2016 when a letter purporting to be from Charles Edmondson was sent to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. It claimed that the transport manager had not been undertaking his role and the operator had failed to tell the TC.
Charles Edmondson denied writing the letter and Daniel Edmondson said his sister might have disclosed the information to a “vicious third party”.
The haulier intended to appoint a new transport manager in June last year, but it emerged that the man who planned to take on the role had believed he was taking over from a predecessor.
Despite a lack of concerns with vehicle maintenance or drivers’ hours compliance and a green OCRS, the deputy TC said the absence of a transport manager had brought the operator’s fitness to operate trucks into question.
Evans said: “The explanations provided for this state of affairs by Daniel Edmondson that he was ‘stupid’ tended to minimise his responsibility for actions that go far beyond stupidity.
“Without the oversight of an active professional with the responsibility for the continuous and effective management of transport operations it is not possible to determine the extent to which good fortune has allowed Daniel Edmondson, who is unqualified and who, by his own admission, has completed no formal training except Driver CPC, to avoid closer scrutiny.”