A HAULAGE chief from a small Scottish island gassed himself after a safety crackdown on illegal overloading threatened his livelihood.
Friends say tragic Raymond Tibbs, 52, from Islay, killed himself after ferry operators stopped turning a blind eye to the overloading of freight vans serving Scottish islands.
Mr Tibbs, who was cremated in a private family ceremony on the island last month, had lived on Islay for 15 years and ran his own haulage firm, Cameron Carriers.
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne began to weigh all commercial vehicles and goods vehicles from July 1 after a spot check of 16 vans revealed 14 of them were overloaded.
Raymond’s close friend, Steward Mundell, of haulage firm Mundell Ltd, said the crackdown had affected Mr Tibb’s livelihood.
He said: “Raymond was a good friend of mine and he ran his own company Cameron Carriers on Islay.
“He had a bad few years and everything just came to a head.
“With the changes at the Weighbridge his margins came down and down, the amount of goods he could carry came down, and that was the final straw for him.
“Unfortunately Raymond gassed himself in his van. I am well aware how affected smaller haulage companies have been.”
His son, also Raymond Tibbs, said his father’s death had been a massive shock to the family.
He said the crackdown on overloading “would have been a struggle” for his father.
He added: “It’s not until something like that happens that people start talking about what was going on.”
A Calmac spokesman said the crackdown was essential to improve safety.
He added: “The company has begun weighing all commercial vehicles and light goods vehicles from 1 July 2014 in order to confirm that these vehicle types are complying with the weight regulations that apply to them.
“The decision to enforce this has not been taken lightly but we have anecdotal evidence that some vehicles may be overloaded and in the light of the recent South Korean ferry disaster where overloading and falsified documents led to the deaths of nearly 300 people, we feel we have no option but to take this step.
“We are certain that customers will understand the importance to everyone’s safety of ensuring that our crews know precisely the weight of vehicles being carried and ensure they are properly stowed on the car decks.”
Oban based haulier Derek Wilson admitted overloading has been going on for years. “Small vans have worked best to supply the smaller islands until now but for thirty years virtually every van going onto a Calmac ferry has been overloaded,” he said.
“We can understand why Calmac has decided to take this action but its going to hit people hard.”