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'Unreliable witness' loses transport licences

A haulier and two associated companies involved in recycling have had operator licences revoked by the Traffic Commissioner for Wales, who criticised the key person involved as an unreliable witness.

In his ruling, commissioner Nick Jones revoked the operator’s licence held by Adrian Lewis, of Ebbw Vale, and disqualified him from holding or applying for an operator’s licence for 30 months.

He also revoked the operator’s licence held by L Carey & Partners and disqualified Hazel Gray and Graham Lewis – Adrian Lewis’ parents – from holding or applying for a licence for a year.

Adrian Lewis was additionally disqualified from acting as a transport manager within the EU until he passes new certificate of professional competence examinations.

An operator’s licence held by A Lewis Transport was revoked in January, but the other matters were delayed until last month.

In his ruling, Jones said Adrian Lewis “no longer has the necessary good repute and professional competence as a transport manager”.

The commissioner said an investigation revealed concerns at swapping of licences and discs between Adrian Lewis and the two companies, which led to the January proceedings.

“At the hearing I had grave concerns over a number of issues including the apparent lack of control over licences, road safety concerns and the lack of financial resources to maintain vehicles,” Jones said.

The vehicles involved were at times used for transporting material for recycling.

Jones said: “I appreciate that the waste disposal industry can be difficult, but compliant businesses suffer when competition includes people like Adrian Lewis.

“He has paid scant, if any, regard for the rules that apply and he has no place in any industry where integrity is important. His deliberate and sustained continuance of operations after the suspension of the licence is an illustration of Adrian Lewis’s character.”

Adrian Lewis told the commissioner he had “taken his eye off the ball” concerning the vehicle licences because of a malicious campaign against his family, which included libellous graffiti, five heavy goods vehicles burned out and threats to kill, all of which affected his health and that of his mother.

The commissioner said: “My assessment of Adrian Lewis is that he is unreliable as a witness and I attach little or no weight to what he says.

“That is not to say that I disbelieve every single thing that he says; he has been caught out swapping licences and discs between operators and operated whilst the licences were suspended (or in one case revoked).

“He has accepted operating whilst licences were suspended because of both the volume and strength of the evidence, I do not believe that he accepted the operation during the period of suspension because of any innate honesty.

“Aside from my not trusting [Adrian Lewis], he is incompetent and lacking awareness of the responsibilities of a compliant operator; indeed I am surprised that he passed his transport manager examinations some years ago.”

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