'Profit before safety': haulage company forged maintenance documents

A PEMBROKESHIRE haulage company, with a turnover of GBP25m, “put profit before safety” by forging maintenance documents, a court has heard. Mansel Davies & Son Limited, and employee Jonathan Wyn Phillips, both pleaded guilty to 19 counts of creating false instruments between October 2017 and February 2018 relating to a number of vehicles in the company’s fleet. A sentencing hearing at Swansea Crown Court yesterday, February 10, heard how, on January 8, 2018, one of the company’s vehicles was travelling along the A40 when it was discovered a rear shock absorber was broken, which it was deemed to be long-standing.

The vehicle’s ABS and emissions lamps were also both illuminated. It was later discovered that Mansel Davies & Son Limited, which had a turnover of GBP25 million in 2019, and Phillips, of Mynachlog-ddu, had produced false periodic maintenance inspection sheets for company vehicles. Phillips was arrested and interviewed under caution, admitting he had forged records on the instruction from higher management.

He accepted he knew it was wrong, but that he was following instructions. He would not say who the person was who instructed him to carry out the task. The court heard the company has since made significant efforts to improve its compliance.

But no information was supplied relating to why the instructions were given to dishonestly forge the documents. “It is a deliberate and flagrant course of action which has put the lives of employees and road users at risk,” said prosecutor Jonathan Rees. “The company has put profit before safety when it skipped safety inspections on its vehicles and created false inspection records.”

Representing the company, Robert Smith said: “These offences were committed over a short period of time by a company with a long history of trading. “The company has a good reputation and are well known in Wales and its reputation is going to be damaged by this conviction. “An aggravating feature in this case is that Jonathan Phillips is implicated.

He is a valued employee and the company bears responsibility for implicating him in the offences which he has pleaded guilty to and is deeply regretful that has been placed in this position.” Nigel Bisson, for Phillips, said: “This has been a massive learning curve for him. His previous employment was as a security guard at a holiday camp.

“He is bottom of the chain of command and has been incredibly stupid.

He poses no risk of reoffending.”

The case was adjourned until today, February 11, for sentencing.

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