Chauffeur to the stars disqualified over false licence

Fleetwood Mac on stage. Picture: Ian MacNicol
Fleetwood Mac on stage. Picture: Ian MacNicol
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THE boss of a chauffeur company who ferried Tom Jones, Lionel Ritchie and Fleetwood Mac around has been disqualified after operating under a false licence.

Graham Pender – director of Chaffeurline Coaches Ltd and Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd, based in Edinburgh – was rapped by a public inquiry in the city.

Mr Pender, who had previously run a number of businesses, was told he would not be able to operate commercial vehicles for three years.

Scotland’s Traffic Comissioner, Joan Aitken, revoked the licence held by Chauffeurline Coaches Ltd.

The city-based firm had provided a service to singers Jones and Ritchie and the uber famous Fleetwood Mac, when they had visited Edinburgh.

Ms Aitken told the hearing: “I do not doubt Mr Pender has ambition, can embrace modern ways of working, that he likes making money and knows the sense in putting on a nice show in sense of smartly presented vehicles, drivers and slickness of operation.

“However, I am charged with enforcing a regulated enviroment and I struggle with his attitude and commitment to such.”

The company had also provided services for the Balmoral and Caledonian hotels in the city, British Airways staff, Carribean Cruises and BBC Talent Operations. The company was first set up on March 8, 2013.

Mr Pender had previously run Pender Flooring Ltd, which dissolved in September 2014.

During the inquiry in Edinburgh last month, Ms Aitken heard that Chauffeurline Coaches Ltd had ceased trading by November 2014 after an associated company went into liquidation.

However, another firm, Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd continued working, with vehicles under the licence held by Chauffeurline Coaches Ltd – despite the fact that operator licences are not transferable between businesses.

In a written decision issued after the hearing, the Traffic Comissioner said vehicles were illegally providing transport to blue chip airlines, cruise liner companies, hotels and other clients.

Ms Aitken also concluded she was miseld and given false assurances at a public inquiry in 2013 involving Mr Pender and Cramond Coaches Ltd.

But during the public inquiry, Mr Pender said he was now “older and wiser”.

Ms Aitken said: “When an operator is given a chance - as Mr Pender was . . . when I saw him in 2013, which was a serious case in its own way, and that chance is betrayed, the consequences become serious.”