AN HGV driver has been banned from professional driving for three years after falsifying records to claim he was resting when he was still travelling.

Christopher Champion, 39, of Upland Road, Thatto Heath was ruled to have manipulated his driving records in a “dishonest fashion” and “for his own convenience” by North West Traffic Commissioner Simon Evans.

Government inspectors found Champion had used a device to interfere with the tachograph which recorded his driving duties – making it show that he was taking rest when he was actually still driving.

By law, HGV drivers must take certain rests and breaks so they are not affected by fatigue when on the road.

Champion was stopped by Suffolk Police in Bury St Edmunds on August 23 of last year and officers found that the vehicle’s tachograph was showing the vehicle at rest when it was actually being driven.

A vehicle examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) inspected the HGV the day after and found that a magnet had been attached to the sender unit of the tachograph, which is an illegal device because it stops the unit from sending a signal to show the vehicle is moving.

This allows the driver to carry on driving, as the tachograph record shows that the vehicle is not moving.

A DVSA investigation found that Champion had created 13 false records of his driving duties in total.

In one instance, on July 13 last year driver and vehicle records showed that Champion and the vehicle did not move after 2.38pm, recording a daily rest of 18 hours and 22 minutes. However, ANPR cameras picked the vehicle up passing the A14 Elmswell westbound camera at 8.27pm, more than five hours later.

Giving evidence at a driver conduct hearing in Golborne, Champion admitted that he had committed the offences and said he regretted his actions. It was, he argued, the only way he could keep his job.

However, the Traffic Commissioner concluded that Champion’s offending required a lengthy period outside of professional driving.

“On numerous occasions over a period of two and a half months you manipulated records in a dishonest fashion for your own convenience,” he said.

“Driving whilst tired places at risk the lives of other drivers, as well as members of the public and yourself."