Last reviewed 20 November 2023

Although there are now just two vehicles in his possession, Eric Sprakes had held a standard international goods vehicle operator’s licence since 1993 authorising the use of 12 vehicles.

At the five-yearly continuance of the licence earlier this year, it became apparent that he lacked financial standing. The examination of the licence also raised a concern that there had been a change of entity — that is the legal entity operating the vehicles had changed from Mr Sprakes as sole trader to a limited company he had established.

Called to a public inquiry, Mr Sprakes admitted that the sole trader business had “finished” in 2012 after a fire at his premises and Sprakes & Sons Limited was incorporated at that point. He claimed an accountant had advised him that he could keep his licence as a sole trader.

Mr Sprakes said that he realised he had made a “huge mistake” but insisted it was not deliberate. He explained that the limited company had now applied for a new operators’ licence.

Hearing the case, the Traffic Commissioner for the North West, Gerallt Evans, said: “I have considered Mr Sprakes’ persistent failure to notify the change of entity. I am also concerned at the lack of evidence of continuing professional development. For those reasons, and taking matters as they stand today, I do not have confidence in Mr Sprakes’ ability to be compliant in future.”

However, he went on to say that he was satisfied that, with appropriate training and support, Mr Sprakes was capable of regaining his good repute and should be allowed the opportunity of proving he can deliver compliance in future.

The full decision is available here.