An HGV driver has been sent to prison and issued with a fine of more than £5,000 for a series of offences after sharp-eyed patrolling officers spotted a defect when his vehicle drove past them on the A406 in north London.
The Roads and Transport Policing Command [RTPC] officers first stopped Maciej Karczewski, 51 at around 3pm on Saturday, 26 September, in Leeside Road, Haringey. Along with the missing offside mirror, they discovered he was carrying a full load of 28 pallets of alcohol without any means of securing it, had no MOT on his trailer and also that his Tacograph (a machine in cab recording data) revealed a breach in conditions on how long he was allowed to drive without a rest.
Karczewski was issued on the spot with a penalty of £1,500, which was due immediately as he did not have a UK address for a summons to be sent to. When he said he was unable to pay there and then, his vehicle was immobilised. The next day, Sunday, 27 September, officers went back to retrieve payment but were unable to rouse him, so planned to return again a short time later.
Officers later returned to Leeside Road, only to find the lorry had disappeared – Karczewski had managed to remove the immobiliser in order to flee the scene. Thanks to fast-time intelligence checks the team was able to ascertain the vehicle was on its way to the south-east coast – and alerted colleagues at the Port of Dover Police who were able to arrest him and seized the lorry as it queued to board a ferry to France.
Karczewski was transferred back to London for interview by the Met and subsequently appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 27 September, where he pleaded guilty to six road-related offences and one of theft (for the immobiliser device). He asked for 15 years as a professional driver to be taken in mitigation, but was issued with a fine of £5,185 and sent to custody for 56 days. He was also disqualified from driving for a year.
Sergeant Rob Beckers, from the Commercial Vehicle Unit at RTPC, said: “It is highly unusual to see theft of one of our immobiliser devices and for a magistrate to impose such a high fine and send someone to prison, so we are very satisfied that with the help of our colleagues in Kent we were able to bring this to such a satisfactory result, which we hope will act as a deterrent to others.
“A defective wing mirror might be considered a small issue, but this meant the driver had a blind spot blocking him from being able to see other vulnerable users – that is cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians – within two to three feet, which could have had very severe consequences. Carrying a huge heavy load without even a single strap to secure it was obviously a dangerous hazard as well.
“The Roads and Transport Policing Command will actively pursue people breaking the law in relation to the use of HGVs and always seek the strongest possible penalties in relation to any offences committed.”