Camden Council leads prosecution against fuel distribution company

Amended as at 21/12/2017 for the purpose of clarification.

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."
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.

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.

Birlem denied any wrongdoing in relation to the delivery of short measures.

However, 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.

The prosecution withdrew fraud charges in related proceedings brought against Birlem. No finding was made that short measures had been delivered.

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  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."