Luton Liberal Democrat councillor fined over £500 for Blue Badge fraud

Cllr Terry Keens
Cllr Terry Keens

A Luton Liberal democrat councillor has been prosecuted for Blue Badge fraud.

Cllr Terry Keens, who represents Crawley ward, has been prosecuted by Luton Council and ordered to pay court costs of £552 after pleading guilty to one charge of misusing his mother’s Blue Badge.

On October 22 at Luton Magistrates Court, Cllr Keens, of Havelock Road, pleaded guilty to charges under section 117 Road Traffic Regulation 1984 for falsely displaying a disabled persons Blue Badge.

The Court heard how he had parked in Luton town centre on July 17 in a bay that required payment, displaying a Blue Badge belonging to his mother who was not with him.

The matter was investigated by council officers, working in partnership with Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS).

During an interview with officers from the council and SAFS, Cllr Keens admitted that he parked his vehicle in the parking bay and displayed his mother’s Blue Badge. He reportedly expressed regret and made no attempt to excuse his behaviour, and was open and honest in his admission.

Cllr Keens pleaded guilty and received a £270 fine for the offence including a victim surcharge of £32 as well as prosecution costs of £250.

In a statement, Cllr Keens said: "The blue badge in question was issued for me to transport my mother who is in her 90s, needs assistance to walk and uses a wheelchair.

"We have an application currently being processed to issue another blue badge for my wife who has an illness which seriously limits her mobility.

"I used my mother’s blue badge to park in a town centre car park when taking my wife for an appointment at the Luton & Dunstable hospital.

"We use a town centre car park for her appointments because the bus stop is actually nearer to the hospital entrance than any of the available car parks.

"I accept that this was an unauthorised use of my mother’s permit and expect very soon now to have a second permit for use when transporting my wife."

A Luton Council spokesman said: “We take the misuse of Blue Badge usage very seriously. It is extremely unfair to legitimate Blue Badge users who need access to disabled parking facilities.

“We are determined to do everything in our power to protect the quality of life for our disabled and vulnerable residents. This prosecution sends a strong message to anyone abusing the system.”

If you suspect someone is fraudulently using a Blue Badge report it to Bluebadges@luton.gov.uk or call 01582 547272.