A coach company and a number of its drivers are to appear in court accused of falsifying driving records.
Otterburn-based Howard Snaith Coach Travel operates school run services and some rural bus routes in Northumberland, as well as running a private hire service.
But The Journal understands that 17 of its drivers and two other members of staff have now been summonsed to court following an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). They are all accused of being part of a conspiracy to falsify driving records. Two people, including one driver have also been charged with perverting the course of justice.
The accused will appear at Newcastle Magistrates Court next month.
The charges, which can carry a prison sentence, relate to records transport companies are required to keep by law regarding how many consecutive days their drivers have been behind the wheel, and how many rest days they have taken.
Howard Snaith Coach Travel operates a number of school bus services for Northumberland County Council. The company also runs public bus services around the county, subsidised by the local authority.
A spokesman for Northumberland County Council yesterday said: “We can confirm that Howard Snaith are a major provider of passenger transport services to the council.
“Currently they operate some 60 school transport contracts and six public bus services. We have no further comment to make at this stage.”
Howard Snaith’s coaches have been a familiar sight around the region and beyond for more than 30 years.
After starting as a one-man operation, founder Howard Snaith grew his family business over the years and the company’s website now boasts of an extensive fleet of the highest quality coaches.
The company states: “We strive to make transporting you to and from your destination as smooth as possible, whether you are hiring a taxi or booking an executive/VIP class coach for special occasions.
“Our experienced team of fully CRB checked drivers will ensure you always reach your destination safely, on time, every time, and within the comfortable surroundings provided by our coach service.”