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Coach firm faces £21,000 bill over rule breaches

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A COACH firm which has a base in Harboorugh faces a £21,015 bill for breaching rules over drivers’ hours and how they record their shifts.

Ausden Clark Ltd, the headquarters of which is based at Dysart Way, St Matthew’s, Leicester, and 14 drivers admitted a string of charges at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

The company, which also has a base near Harborough Train Station in Great Bowden Road, has 100 staff and 70 vehicles and holds numerous contracts for school runs in the county.

However the court heard how police and officials from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) seized tachograph documents after executing search warrants on the firm in October last year.

The seized documents showed breaches of regulations relating to drivers’ hours and how they recorded their shifts, prosecutor Chris Hallsworth told the court.

He said drivers were allowed to fill in time sheets which did not correspond to hours they had worked according to the tachograph records.

The company admitted 16 counts of using a vehicle when the driver failed to use a tachography record sheet or driver card.

It also admitted two counts of using a vehicle when the driver has insufficient rest within 24-hour period. It was ordered to pay £21,015.

The firm’s transport manager Leslie Watts (57), of High Street, Kibworth, admitted ten counts of failing without reasonable excuse to make a relevant record/ entry, three counts of being the employer of a person using a vehicle when the driver has insufficient rest within 24 hour period and three counts of using a vehicle when the driver failed to use a tachography record sheet or driver card. He was ordered to pay £2,115.

Fourteen drivers also admitted offences.

In mitigation, Mark Laprell, for Ausden Clark, said it was a well-run, reputable company with no culture of cutting corners.

All the charges relate to June and July last year.

Last month Paul Ausden-Clark, the firm’s managing director, was ordered to pay £28,000 in fines and costs after admitting 74 offences of forging reports of coach inspections and maintenance work.

Leicester Crown Court was told at the time the company’s licence could be revoked by the traffic commissioner because of the prosecution.

 

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