Attleborough-based poultry firm Banham Group has operator’s licence curtailed by traffic commissioner after driver offences
- Credit: Office of the Traffic Commissioners for England, Wales and Scotland
A poultry group has been ordered to reduce the number of vehicles it runs after a former transport manager took less than four hours rest in a 24-hour period.
Banham Group, the parent of Banham Poultry which is based in Attleborough, has had its operator's licence curtailed from 43 to 36 vehicles by the deputy traffic commissioner for the East of England, Miles Dorrington.
Former transport manager Peter Riches also received a severe written warning and was suspended from professional driving for a week after a public inquiry found he had neglected to record other work before driving a vehicle on June 23, 2016.
In the 24 hours from 6.44am, Mr Riches only took three hours and 40 minutes rest after an agency driver called off at the last minute, the traffic commissioner's office said.
After working a day in the office, Mr Riches drove between 7.34pm on June 23 and 6.43am on June 24, the inquiry heard. This meant his working day was extended to cover a duty period of 23 hours and 59 minutes – the maximum allowed is 15 hours.
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In an interview with the examiner about the offence Mr Riches admitted he had been thinking about the company rather than his own personal situation and the decision had been 'utterly stupid'.
Mr Dorrington concluded the breach was serious but out of character and a one-off incident.
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The company was also found to be keeping its vehicles at a site in Attleborough without permission and had been operating from the unauthorised site for 20 years.
Banham and Mr Riches were called before the public inquiry, held on July 24, after an investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). After analysing the firm's documentation a DVSA officer found 45 drivers' hours offences.
As part of the inquiry it was agreed Mr Riches' son Craig Riches would take on the role of transport manager.
Based at Station Road, Attleborough, Banham Poultry sells 650,000 chickens a week and employs around 600 people. In its most recently filed accounts, for the period to October 3 2015, the family-run firm had a turnover of £122.2m.
A spokesman for Banham Group said: 'We take the findings extremely seriously. We remain committed to being a responsible business and will ensure that all lessons are learned.'