Truck driver jailed over forgery charges

A Portuguese truck driver appeared at Carlisle Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to nine charges of forgery in May 2011 relating to the manipulation of his tachograph charts.

Carlos Antonio Martinc Pinto, 43, who drove for the Spanish haulage company Transportes Pepe El Correcaminos, from Murcia in South East Spain, was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment on each charge (to run concurrent) and was disqualified from driving in the UK for 12 months.  He has been on remand since his arrest at the end of January 2012 and will serve the rest of his sentence prior to release.

Mr Pinto was initially stopped by VOSA officers in Kent in June 2011 where his charts were seized.  These were passed to Cumbria Police as part of the ongoing Operation Oasby which is a joint VOSA and Cumbria Police operation investigating the Spanish haulage company.  Following analysis of the charts observations were circulated and on the 23rd January 2012 Mr Pinto was stopped and arrested on the A1 in North Yorkshire buy North Yorkshire Police.  Mr Pinto’s Scania 164 tractor unit was seized and examined along with other documentation.

Mr Pinto pleaded guilty to the offences at first hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court and was committed to Carlisle Crown Court for sentence.

Two previous cases heard at Carlisle Crown Court in October 2011 and January 2012 saw two colleagues of Pinto, Lopes Mello and Mohammed Issiali jailed for 6 months on each of a number of counts of making a false instruments, namely tachograph charts.

At the sentence of Mr Pinto, the Judge said: “Forging such documents or interfering in the recording devices allows drivers to use vehicles in excess of what is allowed by law…..whilst there was no report of improper driving by him it is only right to recognise and acknowledge that other drivers who commit such offences cannot claim never to have been involved in accidents which have had serious consequences.  The sentence is there not only to punish but to send a clear message and therefore an immediate custodial sentence is called for.”

Sergeant Graeme Hodgson from the Road Policing Unit led the investigation for Cumbria Constabulary.  “PCs Ivison and McKeown, together with colleagues from VOSA, have acted on the intelligence received on this Spanish company and have removed drivers and vehicles from the road.

“Those drivers and vehicles were putting members of the public at risk, not only by their own actions, but also by placing unfair competitive pressure on legitimate hauliers.  We will continue to work closely with VOSA to ensure that dishonest operators are removed from the road and that company directors are brought to court as well as the drivers.”

“A confiscation order has been applied for in relation to the vehicles driven by Mr Pinto and Mr Lopes Mello at the time of his being stopped and HH Judge Batty QC has ordered that the company represent themselves at a forthcoming hearing.

“Cumbria Constabulary and VOSA continue to target hauliers who deliberately flout the law and have a number of other investigations currently under way with other individuals awaiting court.”