Unlicensed operator loses impounded vehicle

A bid for the return of an impounded coach to Luton-based Mohammed Islam has been refused by TC Nick Denton

A bid for the return of an impounded coach found to be being operated without an O-Licence by Luton-based Mohammed Islam has been refused by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton.

Traffic Examiner Anita Barwell told the TC that on 23 May she impounded a 53-seater coach at Crick, Northamptonshire. The vehicle was being driven by Mohammed Islam. It was carrying 44 passengers but was not displaying an O-Licence disc.

DVSA had previously written to Mr Islam on 22 September 2021 and 13 May 2022 to warn him that he appeared to be operating a coach without a licence and alert him to the fact that the vehicle could be impounded if he continued to do so.

Mr Islam told her that he was not carrying passengers for hire and reward. The people on board were his staff employees, working for Yasar Transport, on a staff outing. She spoke to some of the passengers and ascertained that they were managers of a KFC franchisee, Demipower. They were on their way from Luton to Liverpool for a gala dinner. She spoke to Demipower and was told that they had booked the coach through an online broker and had paid £1,700 for the return journey. She spoke to the coach broker, UK Coach Rentals. It stated that the job had been given to Mohammed Islam, and that he had been paid £1,600 for the job.

Asked whether he had any other evidence of ownership of the vehicle apart from the V5 certificate, Mr Islam said he did not. He had acquired the vehicle “a long time ago” and no longer had the invoice or receipt of payment. He said that he had provided his services as driver and owner of the coach free of charge. He had also paid for the fuel for the trip. He had done all this in the hope of mingling with people and making contacts to help develop his events business.

Refusing to return the coach, the TC said that Mr Islam acquired the vehicle just over two years ago. It was not therefore unreasonable to expect records of its purchase to have been kept. If nothing else, Mr Islam could have requested the person or business from whom he acquired the vehicle to have supplied a copy of the invoice. He could also have provided evidence of payment from bank statements. However, Mr Islam had done none of those things. Therefore he was not satisfied that Mohammed Islam was the owner of the vehicle.

Even if Mr Islam was the owner, the TC concluded that the evidence was overwhelming that he was operating it for hire and reward and knew that that was contrary to the law.