A FORMER haulier convicted of fraud and perverting the course of justice has been ordered to pay £48,000 following a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation, the DVSA has revealed.

Gerald Eaton, 50, of Nottingham, was ordered by Derby Crown Court to pay the amount within three months or receive a further 18 month prison sentence.

This follows convictions Mr Eaton received in 2017 for creating false tachograph records and perverting the course of justice while running two road haulage companies; Gerald Eaton International and White Line Transport.

The £48,000 Gerald Eaton was ordered to pay represented the amount he was deemed to have profited from his crimes.

Mr Eaton came to the DVSA’s attention when a lorry driven by one of his employees was inspected during a routine stop. DVSA staff found the lorry had regularly been driven without a tachograph card.

Further investigations revealed that Mr Eaton routinely instructed drivers to exceed their hours or risk being sacked. He attempted to cover up the crimes he and his staff committed by destroying tachograph records and making false tachograph records.

For the charge of conspiracy to create false tachograph records, Mr Eaton received an 18 month prison sentence, and for the charge of perverting the course of justice, he received an eight month prison sentence served consecutively.

DVSA director of enforcement Marian Kitson said.’ Our priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. ‘This ruling sends a clear message – DVSA will not let hauliers profit from breaking the law’.

• Ms Kitson has taken issue with the union Unite whose ‘statistics’ were quoted in our story in last month’s TN entitled ‘Lorry Inspections fall by 37%.

DVSA’s director of enforcement responded; ‘This is nonsense, the deliberate misleading use of figures by Unite undermines the hard work our staff do in keeping Britain’s roads safe.

‘Through more targeted enforcement we are focusing our efforts on the most dangerous vehicles and drivers, and therefore dealing with a higher number of serious offences.

‘This helps ensure that the most seriously non-compliant vehicles are stopped and taken off the road. As a result, the number of HGV accidents where a mechanical defect was a factor has dropped by almost 50% since 2013.

‘Whilst the number of HGV driver fatalities increased from 2016-17, the overall number of fatalities involving HGVs decreased from 267 in 2016 to 263 in 2018.