Camden Council leads prosecution against fuel distribution company

At a sentencing hearing in Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Thursday 2 November, Birlem Ltd, a large independent fuel distributor based in Tottenham, having earlier pleaded guilty to 12 offences under the Weights and Measures Act and related regulations, were fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

The case had arisen following alterations made to tanker oil measuring equipment.

“This case sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate businesses that fail to abide by weights and measures legislation, no matter what sector they trade in.

"In particular, the case highlights the exemplary partnership work that was undertaken to achieve this outcome. This could not have happened without the close coordination between Camden and Haringey Councils’, with the support of National Trading Standards.

“This has been a complex investigation, covering a number of different boroughs over a wide geographical area that also highlights the extensive range of areas that Trading Standards cover.”
Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance & Transformation

This case started in March 2015 when Camden Council Trading Standards received a complaint from a manager of a residential block in Camden. Birlem had delivered heating oil to the block for a number of years, but the manager was concerned that the company were delivering short measures and had monitored deliveries to obtain evidence.

When confronted Birlem denied any wrongdoing and stated that the block’s gauges must be faulty.

Further enquiries were made at Enfield Council where it was alleged that Birlem had also undertaken deliveries that were short of what was delivered.

As a result of this action, in October 2015, Camden and Haringey Council’s’ Trading Standards teams exercised a warrant of entry to Birlem’s depot in Tottenham. A detailed examination of the oil tankers present highlighted an illegal system installed in each vehicle that had the capacity to deliver short measures of fuel.

These adaptations were found to be in breach of weights and measures legislation. Birlem also pleaded guilty to the driver of the tanker not having the correct documentation for these fuel delivery systems.

This investigation was also supported by National Trading Standards.

Carl Robinson, Chair of the NTS (Tri) Regional Investigation Team said:“Officers from our Regional Investigation Team were able to provide wide ranging investigational support to Trading Standards Officers from within Camden and Haringey Councils which has resulted in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion. 

“This reinforces the value and success of partnership working between local authority Trading Standards services and regional assets such as the Regional Investigation Teams.

“This has been a long and complex investigation, but has resulted in guilty pleas for a number of weights and measures offences relating to the sale of bulk fuel. The offending took place across a wide geographic area and the success of the investigation will demonstrate that this type of offending will not be tolerated.”