A HAULIER put people at "great risk" by flouting the laws governing HGV driving limits and trying to cover it up, a court has ruled.
Robert Thomas Benney, of Trenethick Parc, Helston, was banned from driving but left court legally allowed to continue after he appealed his sentence.
Mr Benney was stripped of his heavy goods operating licence in April after appearing before the Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, who called him "unfit to manage the transport activities".
He appeared before Truro magistrates on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to 141 offences, as an operator of Helston-based Robert Benney Transport and individually. These included 10 counts of using a vehicle without an operating licence and numerous offences related to tachographs, including 19 counts of failing to keep records and 28 counts of false records for the times drivers had been out on the road. A further 81 offences were taken into account.
He was stripped of his driver's licence for 12 months and fined £2,200, with £3,000 costs – a reduction on the £15,000 requested by the prosecutors. However, magistrates rejected his request to pay £15 a month, claiming bankruptcy. He was ordered to pay £150 a month.
Passing sentence, chairman of the bench Paula Johns said: "We have found these offences to be very serious and taking into account your experience, your position in the company and your previous record for similar offences ... you put the public at great risk."
His solicitor, Christopher Over, argued Benney would be left unable to work if his driver's license was revoked. He immediately appealed the sentence, which was granted.
His appeal will now be held in Crown Court.
After his sentence, Benney called the sentence "harsh".
Ian Gould, regional investigations manager for VOSA, which led the investigation, said its aim was to improve road safety by ensuring the legal driving time limits and other safety legislation for HGV drivers were enforced.