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Revocation for wrongly used O-licence

  • 05 November 2013
  • By Roger Brown

Sarah Bell (pictured), sitting as traffic commissioner (TC) in the Eastern traffic area, has revoked and disqualified Suffolk-based operator Marmex after it allowed its O-licence to be used by individuals who had been banned from the industry.

Following a public inquiry, the TC concluded that David Lench, disqualified indefinitely, and Michelle Barmby, disqualified until 2014, had used the licence and run the business at arms’ length. Bell said:

- the named director at Marmex, Terence Hall, was unaware of finance payments in and out of the business account, including substantial payments to Lench;
- the firm’s transport manager, a role performed by Hall, ended up being the nominated CPC holder for MJB Logistics, a business operated by Barmby;
- Hall hired vehicles from a company owned by Barmby;
- Marmex insured a vehicle for Barmby;
- vehicles registered to Marmex had been sold to Lench and Barmby.

Bell also heard evidence from Lisa Shore, who was described as an assistant to Hall. Shore declared that she was in the process of divorcing Lench. She admitted to the TC that she had organised for a business called LDL, for which she was the sole director, to carry out work for one of Marmex’s existing customers. The carriage was then subcontracted to Marmex.
Shore claimed that there was nothing sinister in the arrangement, but later acknowledged that if all was above board she should have disclosed her interest in LDL to Hall.

Vehicle maintenance standards at Marmex were also poor, and several S-marked prohibitions had been issued (one for loose wheel nuts).

Hall told the TC he had known Lench for about two years, having hired vehicles from him. Hall claimed he had never been the transport manager for MJB Logistics, despite his CPC certificate and signed paperwork having been sent to the central licensing office. Hall also said that he had no knowledge of any payments between his company and LDL, Shore and Lench.
Bell concluded that Hall had failed to make sufficient enquiries about the activities taking place in his business, and disqualified him from acting as a transport manager.

The TC said: “I find that he is of limited business ability, particularly unsophisticated in his approach to it with little or no enquiring mind and hapless in his business connection, thereby open to being used and deceived by the unscrupulous.
“I think that he believed he was in control of the business.

“He has absolute trust in Shore and this has enabled LDL, Shore and Lench to utilise Marmex for personal gain, to the detriment of Marmex.”


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