Lorry drivers' deception led to close of Shropshire business
The director of a Shropshire lorry firm and one of his former employees have been given suspended jail sentences after admitting driving over their legal hours on several occasions.
Roger Llewellyn had already been forced to close his haulage firm of 28 years after he had an operator's licence revoked at a public inquiry in June, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.
Llewellyn and Stephen Arrowsmith, both 57, drove over their legal limits of four-and-a-half hours several times each and tried to cover it up by removing their ID cards from a digital tachograph and continuing to drive.
They were found out when an inspector from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency looked into their records in November last year, and found that both had driven over their hours.
On one occasion Arrowsmith had driven more than two hours over his limit.
Both pleaded guilty to driving over their legal hours and making false records at Telford Magistrates Court in May.
Llewellyn had his operator's licence revoked in June at a traffic commissioner public inquiry, effectively forcing him to close Roger Llewellyn Ltd and put his 10 drivers out of work, the crown court heard.
On Friday the pair were given jail sentences of six months, suspended for 12 months each, for giving false records.
Arrowsmith was also fined £250 for the offence of driving more than two hours over his limit.
The legal limit for drivers of heavy goods vehicles without a break is four-and-a-half hours, after which they are required to take a break of 45 minutes before driving again.
No financial gain
Representing Llewellyn at court, Rob Edwards said that he did not stand to gain financially from the deception and only made the "very poor decision" to drive over his hours to get home quicker.
He said that the closure of the business has already put him in a "dire financial situation".
For Arrowsmith, Brendan Reedy said that his client also just wanted to get home and did not benefit financially.
Judge Jonathan Gosling said: "It's clear to me that the offences were not motivated by profit but in each case a desire to get back home or to the office."
He did stress that drivers of heavy goods vehicles who stay on the roads longer than they are allowed to put the public and themselves at risk.
For this reason and for the purpose of deterrence he said that prison sentences were appropriate, although he said it was right to suspend them in the circumstances.
Llewellyn, of Llynwood Farm, near Bishop's Castle, will also undergo 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay £250 towards prosecution costs.
Arrowsmith, of Longden Coleham in Shrewsbury, will pay £500.
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