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October 04 2017
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

TC refuses to return impounded vehicle

The TC found that the owner of the vehicle had lied about his knowledge of the vehicle being used as a minibus, and subsequently failed to attend the PI

Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton refused to return an impounded minibus after the claimant failed to appear at a Birmingham Public Inquiry.

‘There was no tachograph fitted and the driver was not keeping a record of the journey’

Ian Polisciou, of Halesowen, had sought the return of a 17-seater minibus on the grounds that he was the owner and did not know it was being operated unlawfully without a PSV O-Licence, as he had allowed a friend to borrow it to take friends and family members to work. He himself used the vehicle for house clearance purposes.

Traffic Examiner (TE) Kate Cox said that the minibus was checked on 19 May at Amazon Rugeley when operated by Anatolie Postolachi, trading as Victorya Travel, of Burnt Hill Lane, Rugeley. 

The vehicle was transporting 16 passengers and was not displaying an O-Licence disc, and a search of the database could find no trace of an O-Licence. The driver, Valentin Agapi, confirmed that the passengers had paid Victorya Travel and that he was paid by the firm to drive. 

The TC said that he considered that Mr Polisciou knew perfectly well what the vehicle was being used for

There was no tachograph fitted and the driver was not keeping a record of the journey. There was no seating capacity marked, no first aid kit, no fire extinguisher and the driver was not carrying evidence of a Driver CPC. The vehicle was not insured for the driver and the police dealt with that matter.

She arranged to interview Mr Postolachi but received a text stating that he had sold the vehicle and had left the country forever. DVSA received information that the vehicle was still being operated and had been seen dropping workers off at Amazon. On 20 July she observed the minibus pull up outside the entrance of Amazon and offload 10 passengers who paid cash to the driver. 

There was no tachograph fitted, the driver was not keeping a record of his duties and the journey, and there was no legal lettering, no first aid kit and no fire extinguisher. The rear emergency doors were blocked by seating. The driver, Ion Hariton, said that he was working for Victorya Travel. He was issued with fixed penalty notices for failing to keep a record and for not having a driver CPC.

She telephoned the number she had received in the text and spoke to Mr Postolachi. He confirmed that he was the operator of the vehicle and she said that the vehicle was being impounded. She asked whether he was in the country and he said no.

In reply to the TC, TE Cox said that the vehicle was a standard minibus though the windows were slightly unusual. It was not in the best condition. The seats were fixed and it appeared to be regularly used as a minibus.

The TC said that he considered that Mr Polisciou knew perfectly well what the vehicle was being used for. He had not attended the hearing despite requesting it. He was not present to produce evidence of ownership or to say how it was used for rubbish clearance when it had 16 seats. He was satisfied that the seating was permanent.

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