Rising concerns over truckers’ “black economy”.

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A senior police officer has revealed that half of all lorry drivers stopped in roadside checks in North Wales, were breaking the law.

Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl appeared on the BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme, and unveiled the findings that half of all drivers stopped were found to be driving for illegally long hours. He warned that the problem was likely to be widespread in the UK and said that a “black economy” of freelance truckers were routinely breaching regulations on permitted driving hours.

Mr Anwyl, who is the head of the National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum, said his force had an ongoing operation to catch truckers who were breaking the law. He told the BBC: “Half of the vehicles we’re stopping on the Late Arrival operation, are driving in excess of their hours, or they’ve got tachograph offences or even using forged tachographs.”

Mr Anwyl also went on to comment that it appeared some disreputable companies were compelling their drivers to work longer hours while being paid less money. In one case a number of months ago, a South African driver was stopped, almost falling asleep at the wheel and was “literally pleading with us to stop him. He told us that if he chose to stop himself then he would not be employed again by that company.”

Mr Anwyl was aware that “drives in one particular firm will get together to decide who has the best charts out of three or four wagons. They’ll send a sacrificial lamb first so you’ll see a lorry, you’ll pull that one but the ones that are behind will have the real problems with the charts and will thunder through safely to the boats.”

The programme found that many drivers were from Eastern Bloc countries. Mr Anwyl said many of them had “high standards of driving” but added that they were a labour force about which his officers knew “nothing.”

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