Three convicted of ‘industrial scale’ tachograph manipulation

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Three men convicted of “industrial scale” tachograph manipulation and money laundering offences have been sentenced to a total of nine years in prison at Preston Crown Court.

The convictions were handed down on 5th April and followed a lengthy and complex investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Lancashire Police.

The men produced, supplied and fitted sophisticated tachograph interrupter devices to heavy goods vehicles. This allowed lorry drivers to avoid taking breaks and to drive for longer than was legal, which endangered the public.

Darren Millington, aged 52 of Hinstock, Shrops; Stephen Young, 55 of Goldthorn Ave, Wolverhampton; and Benjamin Hayton, 43 of Cumberland Avenue, Leyland, Lancs. were all convicted on 11 March 2019 following a five week trial at Preston Crown Court. Each was convicted of one count of conspiracy to falsify drivers’ records and one count of money laundering.

DVSA director of enforcement Marian Kitson said: “Drivers’ hours rules exist to protect everyone from tired drivers. These criminals sought to deliberately undermine those rules for their own gain. They put profit above safety and they had no qualms about putting the public in danger.”

Hayton fitted at least one device to a vehicle belonging to the company S Bamford International Ltd. of Preston. During the investigation DVSA discovered that two drivers for S Bamford International had falsely recorded rest periods more than 630 times in three months. This allowed them to drive their vehicles for long periods of time without taking the required breaks or daily and weekly rest periods.

The two drivers of Bamford’s vehicles appeared before Preston Magistrates Court where they plead guilty to knowingly recording false data on recording equipment on various dates. They were then sent to Preston Crown Court for sentencing on 31st August 2018, where they each received a suspended prison term and community order.

At separate public inquiries in front of a Traffic Commissioner, S Bamford lost his commercial vehicle operator’s licence and the drivers lost their vocational driving licences.

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