Letterkenny-based company Ferry’s Refuse was charged with having marked diesel in a number of refuse trucks.

Representatives of the Revenue Commissioners told Letterkenny District Court that they had stopped a refuse lorry on August 14, 2012. The officer explained to the driver Mr William Anthony Meehan that he wanted to perform a test. The test was positive and showed the presence of markers in the diesel.

Another officer went to Ferry’s Refuse yard and took samples from two lorries that were parked in the yard. Both showed the presence of markers.

The court heard that Mr Ferry told the Revenue officer the lorry driven by Mr Meehan had been filled up at Tinneys. Tests were subsequently carried out at Tinneys but the fuel there proved to be completely free from illegal markers. The court also heard that Mr William Anthony Meehan had just returned from holiday and it was accepted that he did not know the vehicle he was driving contained marked diesel. Charges against Mr Meehan were dropped.

With regard to the two lorries that were tested in the yard of Ferry’s Refuse, the court heard the Mr Ferry claimed they were only used for moving and spreading refuse within the yard. It was explained that special permission could be granted to use vehicles for this purpose but the owner needed to apply to the Revenue Commissioners. Such an application had not been made because it was claimed that Mr Ferry did not know he needed to apply.

Judge Paul Kelly said: “That is an assurance that I would have taken at face value but this company has come before me on a number of issues.

“This is a highly competitive business nationwide. Cut-throat would be putting it lightly.”

He said this put a lot of pressure on companies but they still had to run their businesses properly.

“It is unfair on the legitimate operators,” said Judge Kelly. “It puts them and their employees under threat. I have to take this seriously. There is a lot of money to be made in this business but it has to be done fairly.

Ferry’s Refuse was fined €7,500 in total, comprising €2,500 for each of the three vehicles.

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