Manchester Dairy has been prosecuted by the DVSA for deliberately overloading its vans while delivering Freshways milk when only a truck was capable of safely and legally carrying the heavy cargo.

The company admitted the offences at Coventry Magistrates Court on 9 December and was ordered to pay nearly £34,000.

Manchester Dairy used the 3.5-tonne vans to deliver milk to major high-street coffee shops and other retail outlets, thereby circumventing the operator licencing rules which regulate the use of commercial vehicles over that weight.

The vehicles even had modified suspension to disguise the illegal weight they were hauling.

One van was found to be 5530kgs, which was more than two tonnes over the legal limit.

Between February and March 2020, the DVSA found 14 Manchester Dairy vans in London and South Wales were significantly overloaded, with one in a dangerous mechanical condition.

The vans were found following an intelligence and targeting operation run by DVSA, which shares information on dangerous goods vehicles between its enforcement teams around the country.

DVSA director of enforcement, Marian Kitson said: “The DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“Businesses must not cut corners by using a van where a lorry is required. The DVSA will ensure it pays to be compliant, and will take strong action against those who use illegal, unfair and dangerous ways to compete with hardworking businesses.

“This fine reflects the seriousness of the systemic and intentional offending which was a risk to road safety.”