Police and labour inspectors yesterday carried out a raid on premises owned by a road haulage company in Geluwe in West Flanders, taking 18 lorries into custody and levying €40,000 in administrative fines on the company.
The transport firm is registered in Lithuania, and employs drivers from Belarus, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The operation was based on complaints from local people, and was carried out by labour and housing inspectors, together with the federal traffic police, the local police zone and the federal judicial police.
Police seized 16 trucks at the base, and two more which were at that moment in Houthalen in Limburg. One service vehicle was immobilised. The trucks were found to have irregularities with the tachograph (which records speed and distance as well as drivers’ hours), the speed limiter and other technical failings.
The company, whose trucks are registered in Lithuania, Poland and Estonia, is suspected of being in breach of road traffic laws regarding its vehicles, as well as employment and health and safety laws regarding its drivers.
One block of the premises, used as accommodation for drivers, was declared unfit for human habitation. Police and inspectors interviewed 25 of the company’s employees present at the scene.
Both police and inspectors have been interested in the company’s activities for some time, following complaints from local residents about the conduct of off-duty drivers at the weekend, and trucks parking on the local off-road from the A19 motorway at Zonnebeke-Beselare.