Mansel Davies & Son (MDSL) has had its licence revoked after a director ordered a junior member of staff to falsify maintenance records in a “disgraceful” act to cover-up an absence of vehicle safety checks.

The falsified records were discovered as part of a DVSA investigation in 2018, which discovered that the Pembrokeshire firm had falsified up to as many as 30 preventative maintenance inspection (PMI) records, as well as creating 15 records purportedly showing that vehicles were off the road (VOR) and therefore not requiring PMIs.

In reality, the vehicles were being operated on days during the supposed VOR period and therefore would have required PMIs.

At a Caernarfon public inquiry, TC Nick Denton said there was evidence that the falsification of records stretched back to 2015 and that the practice of sending vehicles out of the workshop with incomplete PMIs continued well into 2018.

The TC said directors David Davies and his son Stephen “presided over a toxic maintenance culture at MDSL.

“The culture was wholly at odds with the preventative maintenance philosophy. It was not a temporary aberration but of long duration.”

In February, the haulier was hit with a record £380,000 fine, with £120,000 costs, after pleading guilty at Swansea Crown Court to 19 offences of forgery and counterfeiting maintenance records.

Jonathan Phillips, an administrative assistant at the company, was also given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to forging maintenance records.

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In a written decision following the PI on 24 and 25 November, TC Denton said no one at director level took responsibility for the company’s dishonesty and instead resigned from their positions just days before the hearing and did not attend.

He was particularly critical that they ordered a junior employee to falsify maintenance documents and then left him to face a prison sentence while failing to take responsibility themselves.

Denton said the company’s maintenance malpractice had put “its employees and other road users in danger, as well as constituting grossly unfair competition against those hauliers who run compliant maintenance regimes”.

Both directors were disqualified indefinitely and transport managers Stephen Davies and Rhodri Wyn were also disqualified indefinitely.

The TC was made aware of an application by a linked company to take over the revoked company’s operation.

This application, involving a younger generation of the Mansel Davies family, was not formally considered as part of the PI.

But the TC did hear from the new directors and transport manager and agreed that they could represent a marked and necessary shift in the culture of the business.

That application is still under consideration.