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Millbrook 2019
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July 10 2019
By Mike Jewell

Mike Jewell is the industry’s leading legal journalist, covering all key cases brought before Public Inquries, Tribunals, Magistrates and Crown Courts

Drugs and alcohol on Guru Travel
football coaches, TC told

Police boarding football excursions operated by Oldbury-based Guru Travel found both drugs and alcohol had been carried and used by passengers, a Birmingham Public Inquiry was told.

15 crates of alcohol and 10 bags of cannabis were found on coach

The company, of Harborne Road, Oldbury, with a six-vehicle international licence, had been called before Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton, who is to issue a written decision.

Constable Michael Daker, a Merseyside Police football liaison officer, said that on 29 January Everton supporters were being carried to Huddersfield.

He boarded the coach and there was an overwhelming smell of cannabis as well as alcohol. They found boxes of beer and plenty of empty bottles and cans.

He was concerned that the driver would have been inhaling cannabis fumes, which would have affected his ability to drive safely. The trip organiser stated that all the cannabis had been smoked.

On 9 February a coach carried Everton supporters to Watford. After the match a number of men alighted from the coach and there was an altercation with Watford supporters. A 70-year-old man received a fractured skull. Four people including the trip organiser were arrested.

When he boarded the coach there was a strong smell of cannabis and alcohol and people were drinking alcohol on the coach.

He agreed that he had not investigated whether the company’s Director had knowledge of what was going on, as he assumed the drivers would have informed their employers. He was aware that Guru had stopped allowing the organiser, Colin Carroll, to hire its coaches.

He said that on 26 February because of previous incidents two coaches due to carry Everton supporters to Cardiff were stopped, one belonging to Huyton Minicoaches and the other to Guru.

When the Guru coach was searched 15 crates of alcohol, 10 bags of cannabis and containers of laughing gas were discovered.

Baljinder Singh Rahal said that he had initially obtained the football work from a broker. Mr Carroll was told that there must be no alcohol or smoking on the company’s coaches.

After the incident on 26 February they stopped taking football supporters from Merseyside. He had had no knowledge of the beer and drugs at Huddersfield and Watford at the time as the drivers had not told him.

He checked the coaches when they returned and they were clean without any smell or empty bottles. He admitted that he still used the part-time drivers involved.

In reply to the TC, he initially said that he did not believe the police evidence that people were drinking on the coaches, but after a short adjournment accepted beer was found on the coaches. He said that the drivers had possibly been paid to “turn a blind eye”.

The TC said that he could not understand why a tougher line had not been taken with the drivers. There was quite a lot of evidence that the drivers knew there was alcohol and drugs on board.

The TC said that he felt revocation would be disproportionate, but things happened that should not have happened.

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