THE boss of an Apperley Bridge haulage firm has been given a formal written warning after a lorry was found to have loose wheel nuts.

At a public inquiry in Leeds, Tom Macartney - traffic commissioner for the north east - heard how Apperley Bridge Transport Limited had been issued with a prohibition notice last September when one of its lorries was found to have a loose nut at a vehicle testing station.

And he heard another prohibition notice was issued last month when another loose wheel nut was found on one of the Harrogate Road-based firm's two eight-wheeler trucks.

Company director Graham Wright said at the inquiry on Wednesday last week that the first incident had resulted from work carried out by a contractor, which he no longer used, immediately prior to the vehicle test while the second was down to an employee who had been given a warning.

But Mr Wright admitted such faults were ultimately his responsibility.

He undertook to provide drivers with training in defect reporting, implement a daily vehicle checking system, have his vehicles serviced every six weeks by a main dealer and have a quarterly audit of the firm's checking systems.

Mr Macartney said Mr Wright had failed to fulfil some of the most basic requirements of his restricted operating licence.

But he said in view of Mr Wright's previously unblemished record his undertaking and desire to improve things he was prepared to take a very lenient view in this case.

But he reminded Mr Wright that loose wheel nuts could potentially result in the loss of a wheel and a fatal accident and warned him that he risked losing his operator's licence at a future public inquiry if he failed to fulfil the undertakings.