An Indian foods company is just one of a number of firms that have been handed somewhat spicy fines thanks to overloaded vehicles.

Recently, three firms have been prosecuted following the routine weighing of vehicles by Durham County Council’s trading standards officers last year.

In September, a vehicle being used by Punjab Kitchen Limited, of South Shields, was found to be overloaded with frozen curries.

The vehicle – driven by Kevin Hannson, also of South Shields – was overloaded by 790 kilogrammes (22.5%). The vehicle was carrying a load of 4,290 kilos when the maximum permitted was 3,500 kilos.

In August, a vehicle was stopped which was being driven by Jamal Abas Sirwan of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Sirwan’s vehicle, which was transporting a car from Peterlee to Dewsbury, was found to be overloaded on its rear axle by 480 kilos (21%) and by 300 kilos (8.5%) overall.

This vehicle was overloaded by 480 kilos on its rear axle

In June, a vehicle being driven by George William Miller of Thornley, on behalf of his business Miller Roadways, was found to be overloaded by 980 kilos (28%).

Miller’s vehicle, which was carrying resin aggregates, was transporting a load of 4,480 kilos when the maximum load permitted was 3,500 kilos.

All three cases were heard last week at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court. Though Punjab Kitchen Limited and Hannson were absent, they had pleaded guilty by letter to three charges each.

Punjab Kitchen was ordered to pay a fine of £1,000 along with costs of £399.95 and a victim surcharge of £100. Hannson received a fine of £200 and was told to pay a victim surcharge of £30.

Sirwan – who was also absent – was found guilty of two charges and fined £460. He was ordered to pay costs of £399.95 and a victim surcharge of £46.

Miller did not attend court, but had pleaded guilty by letter to two charges. He was ordered to pay a fine of £420, costs of £545 and a victim surcharge of £42.

Durham County Council’s consumer protection manager, Owen Cleugh, said, “Weight restrictions for goods vehicles exist for the safety of all road users.”

“By overloading a vehicle you are increasing the chances of it being involved in an accident with potentially fatal consequences due to the massive strain it puts on tyres and making it more difficult to steer and longer to stop.”

“I hope these cases serve as a reminder to companies and their drivers to not only be aware of weight restrictions but to operate within these limits.”   

(The featured image shows the vehicle overloaded by 22.5% with frozen curries)

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