The director of a Scottish haulage firm running trucks out of Livingston and Motherwell has been disqualified for a decade after he attempted to operate more vehicles than specified on his licence on two occasions.

John Strachan, trading as Strachan Haulage, was also disqualified from being a transport manager indefinitely following his appearance at an Edinburgh public inquiry before deputy traffic commissioner Hugh Olson.

Strachan was called to the PI after the DVSA raised concerns that he was operating more vehicles than his authorisation allowed and had breached the condition that his licence was not transferable.

The operator claimed he had tried to set up an arrangement with fellow haulier Philip Bett, where Bett would hire vehicles from Strachan, Bett would also employ and pay the drivers, he would maintain the vehicles, pay for fuel and then he would invoice Strachan for the work that was subcontracted to him.

However, Strachan admitted none of this had happened, because Bett had been unable to open a bank account and so, as a result, everything had ended up being paid for by Strachan.

In his written decision, DTC Olson said: “Mr Strachan’s position was that he had tried to enter into a genuine sub-contracting arrangement but that it had not worked.

“The fact remains that Mr Strachan was the ‘user’ of the vehicles on Mr Bett’s licence, not Mr Bett.
“The difficulty for Mr Strachan is that he was not authorised to use these vehicles – Mr Bett was. The difficulty for Mr Bett was that he was not using these vehicles – Mr Strachan was.

“I am satisfied that Mr Bett lent his operator discs to Mr Strachan so that Mr Strachan could use more vehicles than he was authorised to. On any view of the evidence Mr Strachan was using vehicles in excess of the maximum number on his operator’s licence.”

The DTC added that this arrangement appeared to continue for more than three years and this was Strachan’s second PI at which he had been found to have operated lorries in excess of his authorisation.

“Lending and borrowing of discs is an extremely serious matter,” Olson added.

“The maximum number of vehicles specified on an operator’s licence is a fundamental part of the licensing regime.”

The DTC also disqualified Bett for five years and he found that the repute of Bett’s transport manager Liam McLaughlin was tarnished.