Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Million Pound Tachograph Crime Doesn't Pay for Road Haulage Operators

Longer Jail Terms if Fines Remain Unpaid is Message to Corrupt Hauliers and Truck Drivers
Shipping News Feature

UK – Two former Directors of road haulage firm Boyle Transport Ltd have been ordered to pay a total of £1,835,793 following a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Carlisle Crown Court. Last week, 67 year old Patrick James Boyle and his 38 year old son Mark Anthony Boyle, both from Newry, Northern Ireland, were found to have benefitted to the sum of £10,016,810 from falsifying tachograph records following ‘wiring adjustments’ in five of the company’s trucks. On 2 May 2012 Patrick Boyle and Mark Boyle were handed two year and 18 month sentences respectively at Carlisle Crown Court, after they pleaded guilty to conspiring with drivers to make the false tachograph records on 18 February 2011.

As long ago as October 2008, a joint intelligence-led investigation named Operation Cadillac began into the firm’s affairs, conducted by Cumbria Constabulary and the Vehicle & Operators Services Agency (VOSA) and went on to become one of the largest investigations ever conducted by either organisation. Patrick Boyle has been given six months to pay £1,097,622, if the money is not paid in that time he will have to serve an extra five and a half years prison sentence. Mark Boyle has been given six months to pay £738,171, if the money is not paid in that time he will have to serve an extra four years in prison. Assets held from which the money is to be paid includes family homes, 20 Scania trucks and 35 articulated trailers.

A total of 18,000 documents were reviewed as part of the in-depth investigation that took place over the course of a year. It was revealed that each digital tachograph owned by the company had been interfered with and the drivers had, in fact, been driving up to 22 hours per day and failing to take their lawful breaks. Roads Policing Sergeant at Cumbria Constabulary, Sergeant Graeme Hodgson said:

“This was one of the largest investigations ever undertaken by Cumbria Constabulary Roads Policing Unit and the confiscation order imposed by the HH Judge Hughes today means that we have been able to seize money which the Boyles acquired through their criminality. These two company directors placed people’s lives in danger by manipulating their staff into taking serious risks on the road by having them driving for up to 22 hours a day, placing their own staff and innocent road users in significant danger of being involved in a collision.

“This work practice enabled them to undercut deliveries on cost and time, and placed pressure on struggling competitors who were trying to work within the law. In an audit 91% of journeys involving Boyle Transport trucks and drivers had some form of manipulation or falsification hiding the true driving and hours worked.

“Our investigations don’t end once sentenced at Court. A significant amount of work was undertaken to examine the assets of the Boyles, which established that they had benefited from their criminality by £10,016,810 and by being ordered to pay £1,835,793 back ensures that they will not return to the lifestyle they were acquainted with.

“At the heart of this investigation is not the desire to simply punish two individuals, but to send a message to all sectors of the haulage industry that we can and will reach those who force drivers to break the law by manipulation and coercion, by pay sanctions and by the threat of losing their jobs if they don’t comply with unlawful orders. This is a simple matter of making the roads safer for everyone who uses them.”

During the criminal investigation, a POCA investigation was carried out by Tim Parker from VOSA in conjunction with the North West Regional Asset Recovery Team. His attention to detail has led to the agreement in court over the criminal benefit and confiscation figures. Heather Cruickshank, VOSA’s Operations Director commented:

“Operators and drivers should be in no doubt that if they choose to work outside the law there will be serious financial consequences as this case highlights. VOSA's number one priority is road safety and our investigators will always seek to take robust action against those who risk the lives of other road users through arrogance or just blatantly ignoring the rules.”