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Telford haulage boss who helped to fiddle mileage must now sell firm's HQ

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Crime | Published:

A haulage boss who made almost £1 million by helping to fiddle drivers’ mileage rates must now sell his business headquarters.

Stephen Holding

Stephen Holding, of Telford based SP Holding Services Ltd, was jailed for eight months at Shrewsbury Crown Court in 2016 for aiding and abetting drivers in falsifying records of the hours they work and rest periods.

He also owned SP Holding Tractor Hire Limited, SP Holding Workshop Limited, SP Holding Limited and SP Holding Group Limited.

Following the sentence, which he has now served, Holding was ordered to repay about £150,000 of the £900,000 the enterprise made from the illegal activity. He has repaid the £150,000 but it is thought that further sums may be realised from his remaining asset.

Yesterday he appeared before a judge to face a court order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act to sell Upper Coalmoor Farm, in Horsehay, to repay the mortgage creditor Lloyds Bank. Any surplus from the future sale of the site will then go towards a further payment to the court .

Mr Tim Harrington, prosecuting barrister, said: "We seek a court order, a Restraint Order by consent, the effect of this is that the bank will foreclose on the property. They have a mortgage on that property and any surplus amount from that property will be put into the Restraint Account."

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Holding, 51, of Moreton Coppice, was jailed three years ago after pleading guilty to a series of offences relating to drivers at two of the companies he ran working for too long periods, putting safety at risk.

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At the time it was revealed that one driver worked for 72 hours without a proper break. Records were then falsified to cover it up and led to Holding gaining a "very significant commercial advantage" over his rivals.

He since been banned from running truck firms indefinitely following a ruling by the Government's traffic commissioner and two of the transport firms went into administration.

While his ex-wife Tracey Smith also pleaded guilty to offences as the company secretary in charge of paying drivers. She was spared jail, but in 2017 a judge ordered her to pay back £53,500 at a proceeds of crime hearing.

The group, which operated from Upper Coalmoor Farm, was set up in 1985 by Holding who developed it into a utility and industrial support business that attracted contracts from major firms.

The purpose of a Restraint Order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is to freeze property that may subsequently be confiscated. The crown court has the power to make orders depriving convicted offenders of their assets, if the offender has benefited from his criminal conduct.

There will be a further proceeds of crime hearing in June.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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