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Devereux Developments, which trades as Devereux Transport and Distribution, fell into the red last year following a “slight” fall in turnover, according to its latest annual results.

Filing its annual results to 31 March 2019 the family firm, which is based in Billingham, County Durham, revealed a pre-tax loss of £57,683, down from a profit of £178,382 in the previous year. Turnover in the period fell to £13.7m, down from £13.9m in the same period.

In its strategic report to the results the haulier, which is a Fortec member and specialises in general haulage, pallet distribution, removals and warehousing, said it continued to maintain a “strong” level of turnover. It added that that a “slight” drop in turnover and a “slight” increase in cost of sales, from £12m to £12.1m, had resulted in a lower gross profit margin for the year.

Looking to the future the report said the outlook “continues to be positive as the directors continue to use their vast knowledge and experience in the industry to maintain the company’s position in the market both locally and nationally".

It added that the company, which has operating licences for 117 trucks and 211 trailers, has continued to show “sustained turnover and gross profit” over the past nine months which it expected to continue in the current financial year.

Speaking to, director Ken Devereux said: "We are doing better now than we were last year. Trading was difficult, there was a bit of a blip last year - it is a case of being as busy as our customers, really.

He added: "In some ways that was to do with Brexit but it is a lot better now and following the general election there has definitely been more confidence and much more of a buzz around - so hopefully a corner has been turned."

Devereux added that the firm had replaced some of its fleet with DAF Trucks in the past six months, making it the firm's first purchase of DAF Trucks in some years. Devereux attributed the move to a "new and enthusiastic young salesman" at the local DAF dealership and to the prospect of the UK leaving Europe. "We thought that with DAF being manufactured in the UK we would be able to avoid any import duties that might arise post-Brexit," he said.

The strategic report to the results also noted that Devereux Distribution is continuing to undergo an HSE review of an accident that occurred in 2017. It added: “The directors anticipate a financial penalty may be levied, however the quantum is unknown.”

Devereux declined to comment on the incident.

An inquest into the death of Devereux transport and distribution manager Russ Devereux, 41, in July last year, concluded that he had taken his life after being “devastated” by an accident at work to a member of staff in 2017.

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Devereux fell to his death from the A19 Leven Viaduct, near Yarm, on Sunday, May 6 2018.

Assistant Coroner for Teesside, Karin Welsh, told the hearing at the time: “I think from the manner he chose to die he did intend to end his own life when he jumped from the viaduct.

“It appears that the incident that occurred in April had a devastating effect on Russ and he felt he wasn’t achieving the standards he expected of himself.”

In March last year, Russ Devereux’s wife Catherine launched the Russ Devereux Headlight Project, which aims to tackle the causes of suicide and build resilience in children and young people to the causes of stress and anxiety.

Donations to the charity can be made here.