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Imagine driving down the road with your utility trailer in tow. You are taking some rubbish to the dump despite the fact that you do not have a trailer licence. But it’s no big deal as you’ve done this dozens of times before. Suddenly, you see something you have been dreading since the start of your journey: an organised group of police officers running spot checks. That moment you wish you had a trailer licence suddenly arrives.

Although this scenario is hypothetical, it was inspired by a recent spot check conducted by authorities in Marlborough. They set up the checkpoint as a way to get illegal vehicles off the road and cut down on rural crime. Among the more than 100 vehicles stopped by police, guess what two were at the top of the list: trailers and vans.

Trailers are especially important in these kinds of checks for two reasons. First, it is not difficult to find trailer owners towing vehicles that are not roadworthy. The Marlborough check revealed numerous trailers with bald tyres and a few others that were not insured. Second, rural crimes involving scrap metal theft are often carried out using cargo trailers. Police in Marlborough were looking for any drivers hauling scrap metal without a trailer licence or an appropriate scrap metal licence.

All in all, the spot check yielded positive results. A total of 166 vehicles were stopped, two arrests were made, 25 verbal warnings were issued, six fixed penalties were dispensed, and a number of prohibitions were issued for agricultural vehicles. All of the agencies involved in the operation were pleased with the results.

Being Caught without a Trailer Licence

That moment you wish you had a trailer licence will become even more profound when you discover what the penalty is for being caught without one. Penalties start with a £1,000 fine at minimum; you could also receive 6 to 8 penalty points based on the circumstances. In the worst cases, police can actually seize your trailer and its contents until you are prosecuted in court.

It must be made clear that the vast majority of towing offences are the direct result of ignorance. People just do not realise what kind of licence they need to tow a trailer. Often, they don’t take the time to learn before starting out on a journey. They do not find out what the law is until they have been stopped by police.

In simple terms, you need a trailer licence if you obtained your car licence on or after 1 January 1997. You can get a Category B+E licence for lighter vehicles and trailers or a Category C1 for heavier tow vehicles and trailers. The HGV Training Centre offers towing courses for both licence categories. In just five days, you can complete your training and be ready to take the car and trailer test. If you pass, you will not have to worry about that moment you wish you had a trailer licence.

Sources:

This Is Wiltshire – https://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/headlines/14102739.Police_stop_over_100_cars_in_Marlborough_looking_for_illegal_vehicles/

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