Two transport operators who illegally ran HGVs over a long and sustained period have been described as "dishonest" by Scotland's Traffic Commissioner, Joan Aitken.
Graeme and Eion Robertson had "imperilled road safety and grossly abused fair competition" by their actions, she added, concluding they had put government inspectors through a great deal of work with their lies and denials.
The industry regulator also criticised Newhouse operator John Allan, who relinquished control of his own licence to allow the Robertsons to operate vehicles. Making an order to disqualify Allan from holding or obtaining an operator's licence for three years and from acting as a transport manager indefinitely, she said anyone who "aids the cowboys cannot expect to retain their repute".
After hearing evidence at a public inquiry last month in Edinburgh, which Allan did not attend, the Traffic Commissioner ruled that invoices produced to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) had been fabricated in response to the agency's investigation into Allan's business.
"G & E Robertson approached John Allan for the use of his operator's licence and disc which are not transferable," the Traffic Commissioner concluded. "I find that John Allan provided the cover of his licence and disc to G and E Robertson and that, at no time, was Eion Robertson a servant of John Allan or under his control."
During the inquiry, Aitken also heard that:
- A vehicle being driven by Eion Robertson had been impounded for illegal operation on May 11, 2016. A Deputy Traffic Commissioner in the North West of England refused to return the vehicle to its owner, Graeme Robertson
- Eion Robertson was stopped by DVSA on December 2, 2016, driving a vehicle from Armadale to Kippen. Examiners found drivers' hours offences had been committed by Eion Robertson
- DVSA investigations into the December 2 encounter revealed that an invoice for the hire of the vehicle had been fabricated
In a written decision, the Traffic Commissioner said Eion Robertson and Graeme Robertson took a chance that they would not get caught.
"They are dishonest persons who have operated goods vehicles outside the law," she added.
Aitken also remarked that anyone who engaged with unlicensed people, as Allan had done, could not emerge with their repute intact.
The decisions made by the regulator are listed below:
John Allan - operator's licence revoked, disqualified from operating for three years and acting as a transport manager indefinitely
G&E Robertson - application for a goods vehicles operator's licence refused
Eion Robertson - professional driving licence suspended for six weeks from 11:59pm on June 30, 2017
Christopher Miekle - application for goods vehicles operator's licence refused
The Farm Supply People - application for additional vehicles granted