Kirkcaldy haulage firm could fold after losing licence

Randolph Transport Ltd in Kirkcaldy
Randolph Transport Ltd in Kirkcaldy

A Kirkcaldy haulage firm is set to grind to a halt after an inquiry revealed it was being run by a disqualified director.

Traffic Commissioner Joan Aitken decided last week to strip Randolph Transport Ltd of its licence to run HGVs after learning its director, Catherine Tottenham, had failed to declare the appointment of her father, William Tottenham, as a fellow director in 2012.

Mr Tottenham told Miss Aitken he had become a director of the firm solely for tax reasons and had previously been involved in operator licensing, through Bellshill Fish Distribution Ltd, but the company’s licence had been revoked because of drivers’ hours offences.

He denied trying to conceal his appointment from the Commissioner.

However, after closing the first hearing, which took place in September 2013, the commissioner then learned Mr Tottenham had been disqualified indefinitely from holding an operators licence in 2000.

At a later hearing which concluded in February, the firm’s accountant, Campbell Kelly, said he was not aware of the disqualification and said Mr Tottenham had not been running the business before he became director.

Mr Tottenham also said he thought the length of his disqualification to be five to 10 years.

Miss Aitken noted that Randolph Transport Ltd had failed to respond to a request for information about its nominated transport manager and later learned it had operated without one - a mandatory requirement - between 2007 and spring 2013.

She concluded there was “...a spider’s web of shareholding but it is simply to avoid inheritance tax and for all practical purposes, this is Mr William Tottenham’s business.”

Mr Tottenham’s resignation left Catherine Tottenham as sole director of the company but the Traffic Commissioner said she was not in control of the situation and had wittingly or unwittingly been part of an arrangement where a disqualified person came to have a haulage company.

She was disqualified from holding an operator’s licence for two years, with effect from August 31.

“A Traffic Commissioner’s order of disqualification is one of the most serious orders a Traffic Commissioner can ever make,” said Joan Aitken.

“It is never made lightly or without evidence.

“I am incredulous that a man can think that he can fix his own period of disqualification. I simply do not believe Mr Tottenham.”