Driven out

TOUGH TIMES: Malcolm Andrews, owner of Heckmondwike Commercial Ltd. (d31121051)
TOUGH TIMES: Malcolm Andrews, owner of Heckmondwike Commercial Ltd. (d31121051)

THE owners of a motor spares company say they are being forced out of the family business by government red tape.

Malcolm Andrews, who owns Heckmondwike Commercial Spares in Walkley Lane with his son William, was fined £8,000 at Batley and Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court last month after admitting stockpiling old vehicles and tyres.

The Environment Agency, which prosecuted the 75-year-old, said Mr Andrews had been banned from keeping or treating waste motor vehicles and was given a month to remove them from his yard or risk action. When officials returned and the vehicles were still there, Mr Andrews was taken to court.

He said: “We want to give our side to this because we have done everything we have been asked to do, but then they come back and move the goal posts so we don’t know where we stand. We are not a scrap yard. Everything on our yard is resaleable. I buy vans and trucks and dismantle them for spare parts and then sell the parts or the complete vehicle.”

Mr Andrews said a lot of the parts were then sold abroad.

“What is illegal to run in this country is not in third world countries like Africa,” he said.

“A lot of our customers ship them over to Africa, and years ago we had a lot go to Pakistan. Repairing engines over there is about 10 times cheaper.”

Mr Andrews said the government body had told him he must concrete the whole yard to legally store the vehicles, but that was not an option.

He added: “Concreting the whole one-acre yard would have cost £300,000. I said that’s all right but who’s going to pay for it?”

Mr Andrews said he needed a clear set of instructions of what had to be done at the yard in order to comply with government regulations.

“We need to sit down with them and they need to tell us what they want and stick to it,” he said.

“We’ve lost custom because we haven’t got the stuff any more.

“All I have is my reputation and after being here for 40 years people have come to rely on me. They’ll stop coming if we don’t have the parts.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The guidelines for dismantling and storing waste motor vehicles are clear, and the vast majority of automotive dismantlers operate within the law. There is a risk to the environment if they do not.”