AN "outwardly respectable" couple behind a Glasgow-based removals business have been stripped of their operator's licence indefinitely after an inquiry found they allowed their son to drive without the correct qualifications and lied to investigators.

James and Eileen Howie, directors of Removals Scotland, have been disqualified after the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken, ruled that they had a "shallow" attitude to road safety.

Miss Aitken said the couple, from King's Park in Glasgow, had been let down by their "out of control son", David Howie, adding that it was "more likely than not that he is at the centre of all that has gone wrong" at the Possilpark removals firm.

However, she stressed that their behaviour had been "irresponsible and inexcusable".

A public inquiry into the running of the Removals Scotland was called after complaints from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The alarm was raised after a DVSA examiner pulled over one of the company's vehicles on the A74 in August 2015 because it was not displaying an operator's licence.

David Howie, who was driving, said he was en route to Chester and was filling in as a "one-off" after the driver supposed to do the job was unable to work. However, it emerged that Mr Howie was not licensed to drive a lorry and did not hold the CPC training certificate required by professional drivers.

His parents had applied for an HGV operator's licence in 2011 to employ their son and enable him to expand his self-storage business into a removals firm.

However, the inquiry heard that after doing so the couple - both in their 60s - had "reverted to pre-occupation with their own lives", leaving their son to oversee the firm.

When the DVSA examiner met with James Howie in February this year to arrange compliance checks, the inquiry heard that he "deliberately lied" by claiming that no vehicles had been operating for the past 18 months when online reviews and Facebook photos showed otherwise.

Subsequent requests from the DVSA to Removals Scotland for records and documentation were also ignored.

The inquiry heard that the company's transport manager had resigned in May 2012, leaving the business without anyone qualified to oversee vehicle operations and that the registered operating premises was not being used. Miss Aitken said Mr Howie knew all this but had turned a blind eye.

Miss Aitken said that while David Howie "has no respect for the operator licence requirements", it was his parents' responsibility to ensure compliance and she was "not in the slightest doubt" that they had to be disqualified indefinitely.

She added: "This is a bad case of outwardly respectable people undermining a regulatory regime which exists to secure road safety."