Over-loaded truck a 'a major risk' to the public

This overloaded truck posed a 'major risk, the council says. Credit: Durham County Council

A Sunderland man whose overloaded van was a danger to other drivers is facing a bill of more than £1,200.

Paul Soakell was travelling through Blackhall, County Durham, at about 8am on 17 February when his vehicle was stopped as part of routine roadside checks by Durham County Council and Durham Police.

A trading standards officer from the council instructed Soakell, 44, of White Hill Road, Easington Lane, to follow a police vehicle to a weighbridge site.

During the journey, the officer noted that the flat-bed Ford Transit was travelling very slowly and, due to the condition of the vehicle and the distribution of the bags of coal it was carrying, formed the view that it was dangerously overloaded.

Too many heavy coal sacks for this vehicle. Credit: Durham County Council

The van was found to be carrying a load of 6,070kg despite only being permitted to carry 3,500kg.

The excess coal was removed and it took Soakell three journeys to legallytransport all of the van’s contents from the site.

Excess coal removed from the truck. Credit: Durham County Council

During an interview under caution, Soakell confirmed that he was self-employed and the regular driver of the vehicle although he had not been driving it for long.

He claimed not to know the weight limits for the vehicle and did not have a weigh ticket for the journey.

Soakell did not attend Newton Aycliffe Magistrate’s Court but pleaded guilty by post to offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

He was fined £730 and ordered to pay £405.45 in costs and a £73 victim surcharge.