Manifest failings by firm lead to disqualification

A haulage boss and transport manager said he had been “scarred” by the experience after he was found to have run a truck under false plates and relied on an unauthorised operating centre.

Lako Logistics found itself before deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton at a Cambridge public inquiry (PI) after the police stopped one of the Coalville operator’s HGVs and found it was using false registration plates, as well as being untaxed and out of MoT.

Further investigations by the DVSA revealed that the firm, which held an international licence for four lorries and four trailers, was not carrying out preventative maintenance inspections at six-weekly intervals, was parking vehicles at an unauthorised operating centre, and had failed to provide data relating to drivers’ hours and tachographs.

Appearing at the PI, director and transport manager Lukasz Pasieka said he had used false plates because one of his HGVs being used on an Amazon contract had broken down, so another vehicle was fitted with its plates instead.

In his written decision, the deputy TC said: “Asked why [the second lorry] could not have been taxed online and sent out onto the road legally, Mr Pasieka said it could not be taxed because it had no MoT.”

The PI heard how the operator had also hit financial difficulties following a £140,000 bad debt and so standards had begun to slip.

Pasieka said he took full responsibility for the failings, his business ceased trading in 2022, and he did not intend to hold an O-licence again.

But Denton said: “A vehicle was knowingly operated out of tax and MoT. Driver and director Marek Pluta claimed in interview with DVSA that this was a one-off event, but the police report suggests otherwise. Indeed, the reason the police had a marker on the vehicle and stopped it was that they had intelligence that it was running under false plates. It was clearly not a one-off incident.”

He added: “It is clear that the Mr Pasieka as transport manager was entirely failing to exercise the required continuous and effective management of the transport aspects of the business.”

He revoked the licence and disqualified the company and Pasieka for five years: “He has manifestly failed to exercise the responsibility he has to the general public to ensure that vehicles are operated legally and safely.”

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