Overloaded vehicles land firms and drivers in court
Companies and drivers who overloaded vehicles with pizza boxes, cheese, resin bond and pigeon corn have been ordered to pay hundreds of pounds each.
All were brought by us following routine weighing of vehicles by our trading standards officers in the county earlier this year.
The first case, in May, involved a vehicle belonging to Resinators Limited of Stockport Road, Mossley, Ashton Under Lyme, and being driven by Jake Oldham, 24, of the same address.
The vehicle which was carrying resin bond was found to be overloaded by 1,500kg (42.9 per cent) - carrying 5,000kg when the maximum it should have been carrying was 3,500kg.
Its rear axle was overloaded by 1,330kg (59.1 per cent) - bearing 3,580kg when it should only have been supporting 2,250kg.
Oldham was told he could not continue his journey until some of the load was removed from the vehicle. It took him three journeys to transport the unloaded items from the site.
The second case, from June, involved a vehicle belonging to Best Food Supplies Limited, of Mary Street, Sunderland, and being driven by Colin Smedley, 50, of Dacre Road, Fulwell, Sunderland.
Cheese and pizza boxes
The vehicle, which was carrying cheese and pizza boxes, was found to be 570kg (16.3 per cent) overloaded.
The third case, again from June, involved a vehicle belonging to Hartlepool business S & M Bird and Sons.
The vehicle, which was carrying pallets of pigeon corn, was found to be 630kg (18 per cent) overloaded, with its second axle 440kg (22 per cent) overloaded.
All three cases were heard at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Resinators Ltd and Oldham were absent but had pleaded guilty by letter to three charges each, including allowing a vehicle to travel while overloaded to the point it posed a danger.
Both the company and the driver were fined £166, ordered to pay costs of £200 and victim surcharges of £30. Oldham also had three penalty points added to his driving licence.
Best Food and Smedley were also absent but had pleaded guilty by post to one charge each.
Smedley was fined £56 and Best Foods £204. Both the company and the driver were ordered to pay costs of £200 and victim surcharges of £30.
Partners in S & M Bird and Sons, Thomas Bird, 61, and Ramsey Bird, 57, both of Worsett Lane, Elwick, Hartlepool, each faced two charges in relation to their vehicle. Thomas attended court and pleaded guilty while Ramsey did not attend and pleaded guilty by post.
Both men were fined £282, ordered to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £30.
Joanne Waller, our head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: "Overloading a vehicle is extremely dangerous as it puts a massive strain on tyres, causing them to overheat and wear rapidly - with increased risk of a blowout. Overloaded vehicles are also less stable, difficult to steer and take longer to stop.
"By overloading a vehicle you are increasing the chances of it being involved in an accident with potentially fatal consequences. This is why it's so important that we take action against those who overload and I hope these prosecutions and the financial penalties imposed will serve as a deterrent."