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Illegal Horse Transporters Targeted

The Vehicle Inspectorate has now impounded over 100 vehicles for operating without the correct licences.

Commenting on the 100th impounding at the end of last year, Bob Tatchell, VI's Operations Director said; "This is good news for road safety and legitimate operators. Impounding is an effective sanction against those who continue to flout the law. The Vehicle Inspectorate is aware of those who have simply not bothered to get a licence, and they will be specifically targeted."

Horsebox owners could also have their vehicles impounded by the Vehicle Inspectorate and then scrapped or sold - just for playing the good Samaritan after a fellow owner has broken down. It is illegal to accept any form of payment - even in kind - for transporting horses without an Operators Licence and the correct hire and reward insurance.

"Over the last few years many people have been tempted to accept payment for transporting horses, often with the best intentions," explained Jon Phillips, Managing Director of the Organisation Horsebox and Trailer Owners. "We have even heard of horsebox owners being recruited by rescue companies to assist others in the case of breakdown. This is fine if the individual concerned has an Operators Licence and the correct hire and reward insurance. If not, they stand a very real chance of losing their vehicle altogether. Being told that the company concerned holds a licence and insurance that covers you simply is not good enough, no matter how reliable or well known that company appears to be."

The V.I. can seize any horsebox with a gross plated weight of 3.5 tonnes or unladen weight of more than 1.525 tonnes found to be contravening the legislation. Vehicles are taken to a secure compound where they remain for 21 days. The operator may appeal against wrongful impounding and any appeal must be made within 21days of the impounding

Appeals have to be made to the Traffic Commissioner and then to the transport tribunal but ignorance of the law will not help. Miranda Roberts of the Vehicle Inspectorate recently warned that "The grounds for appeal do not include the owner of the horsebox being unaware of this change in Department of Transport law."

The Vehicle Inspectorate's national helpline for advice is on 0870 60 60 440. This number includes a confidential line allowing drivers and members of the public to pass on information about potential lawbreakers to the VI's Intelligence Unit. Any company that actively encourages the practice should also be reported.


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