Neville Bobbin is shattered in the wake of the blitzkrieg-style raid involving around 40 police, drug sniffer dogs and Roads and Maritime Services officers at his Bobbins Transport, South Pambula depot on Thursday.
It’s just over 24 hours since police presented search warrants and asked all the staff to gather in one group under police watch.
What followed was the execution of a well-planned, four-hour trawl through the depot, while all Bobbin’s trucks were pulled off roads around the country by highway patrol cars. RMS staff inspected all the vehicles for compliance, the newly opened Ingleburn depot in Sydney and the Melbourne depots were searched, and Neville’s son Brendon was arrested and charged with supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, supplying and possessing prohibited drugs.
“We had to stand outside – we were not allowed to go off the premises," Neville said.
"If you wanted to go to the toilet the police had to come and stand outside the toilet. That went from 8am to noon.”
Telephone records, trip inspection and load manifests, driver work diaries, fuel records, USB sticks, driver fatigue diaries and driver daily sheets have been seized by NSW Police.
Also seized, according to a NSW Police property/seizure exhibit form, was a used syringe, a small quantity of a crystal like substance in a ziplock bag, two small white tablets wrapped in cling film and “1 x firework, brown in colour”.
“I’ve spent 43 years building this company and for this to happen …”, a sleepless Neville said, shaking his head.
“You know what the V8 supercars sound like? That’s what it sounded like going here yesterday morning. I thought ‘who the hell is street racing’ then I looked out the window and there were cop cars everywhere.”
“I felt gutted actually to think that it was done that way.
“We had a forklift training session going on. That poor bugger, the trainer, he had to stand outside with us for four hours. He must have thought ‘what have I got myself into?’.”
Police handed the depot back to Mr Bobbin and his administration manager Russell Fitzpatrick so they could process pays for staff at midday. Other office staff were sent home but workshop mechanics volunteered to stay behind and help to fix what Mr Fitzpatrick says is a “list of very minor defaults”.
“They gave us 14 defects across 30 trucks and 50 trailers. The serious ones relate to speed limiters. This is where I get a bit cranky. The speed limiters are set by the manufacturer – that’s how the trucks are delivered to us. So we’ve got two fines of $2000 each, one for a speed limiter set at 103.8km/h and another for 103.2km/hour,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Truck speed limiters are regulated to be set at 100km/hour.
“You would need to have a special computer to tamper with the speed limiters - only manufacturers can buy them and there is no evidence that any driver has clipped speed limiter lines,” he said.
Other faults included reflectors not working, a too-small rear maker plate, and tinting on one truck’s windows that was deemed too dark.
“By this afternoon all the defects will be cleared. The mechanics worked last night to get that done and they’re finishing them off through the day,” Neville said.
“I just think that the business has got tied up unfortunately, and associated with, a personal issue. The police and RMS are doing their job, I appreciate that. But I think any truck pulled up any day of the week would fail something."
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “You’ve only got to drive on the road and a light will go out or a reflector will fall off. You’ve got to wear things like the speed limiters. Across the 30 trucks it was only the Western Star trucks that had the speed limiter fault. "
The Cummins (trucks) were spot on, Neville said.
Russell Fitzpatrick is clearly proud of the company’s compliance record.
“I’m a bit bitter because we’re that compliant with everything. Our log book pages – we only have to audit 10 per cent of our drivers’ logbook pages under RMS rules – but we audit 100 per cent.
“To suggest we are rogue operators, that’s just not true. We are actually more compliant than most other small transport companies.
“We have four people who work full time on compliance - that’s been the disappointing part. It’s a slant on this part to the company that just isn’t true.”