£505 Fine for Evading Fuel Duty
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LAST week, Melias Transport (Bolton), Ltd., 21, Mawdsley Street, Bolton, was fined £505, at Bolton, for a breach of the Finance Act, 1935, by using hydrocarbon oil in a road vehicle.
Mr. B. M. Stephenson, for the Customs and Excise, alleged that between April and August of this year the defendant concern received 10,672 gallons of spindle, flushing and light lubricating oil, all three classes on which, normally, id. instead of 9d, per gallon duty was paid. The oil had been used as fuel in oil-engined vehicles. No mention was made in the company's books of such use of the 10,672 gallons. Mr. Edward Melia, managing director, was stated to have declared that the oil had been put into the same storage tank as that in which ordinary oil fuel (duty 9d.) was kept.
Mr. Melia told the court that the company's 10 vehicles were engaged on work ef national importance. Before August last, oil used for flushing could not be sold—the concern used to give. it away; but, after reading an article on the cleansing of oil which had been used for flushing, he decided to get an apparatus for that purpose. After cleansing, he mixed the used oil with the oil fuel. Each lorry was doing 1,500 miles weekly, each employee was working 66 hours a week, and he sometimes 100 hours. He did not know he should have paid duty on the oil in question. Whereas, formerly, the company was using 1,500 gallons of. oil a week, to-day it could not get more than 750 gallons.
Mr. A. F. Greenhalgh, for defendant, pointed out that the company was entitled to the highest commendation for its efforts to grapple with the problem with which every haulage concern was faced.
During the hearing it was stated that the defendant company rendered itself liable to a penalty of £2,257, being treble the value of the oil wrongly used, and that on the 10,672 gallons involved there had been a loss of duty of £355. The magistrates took this into consideration in • fixing the amount of the penalty. In addition to the £505 fine, the company was ordered to pay £10 10s. costs.