Seven men, including URTU general secretary Bob Monks, have been released on bail after a series of co-ordinated arrests as part of an investigation into alleged fraud offences relating to LGV licences and Driver CPC.

The operation, conducted by Greater Manchester Police’s Volume Fraud unit in conjunction with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), also saw a warrant executed at URTU HQ in Cheadle Hulme on Wednesday 15 February.

Among those arrested were URTU national officer Mel Thornton; regional officer Lee Pimbley; and regional officer Mike Billingham.

The men were detained by officers from Greater Manchester Police, as well as officers from Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire forces, on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

Greater Manchester Police tell MT that all seven have been bailed until the end of May.

URTU had its Driver CPC training approval withdrawn in December after it was found to be at fault by the DSA over a health and safety Driver CPC course held in in Bristol on 4 September, which finished short of the mandatory seven-hours JAUPT regulations demand.

The union launched an appeal, but subsequently withdrew it.

The day before the arrests were made Monks told MT’s sister title Commercial Motor: "We had a particular problem on the course, which saw us breach the approval regulations.

"We said to the DSA that we had previously run 19 courses prior [to this one] with no problem and another after without a problem."

However, Monks says on the 4 September itself, that course attracted what he described as a disruptive segment of non-URTU drivers and a decision to finish as quickly as possible was taken.

"This is where the fault lies with us," said Monks, who maintains that the full-course content was delivered despite the shorter time frame. "I was there and I take full responsibility."

URTU was unavailable for comment as MT went to press.