Two people have been fined after being caught out during an exercise on the potential misuse of disability blue badges.
Central Bedfordshire Council checked 112 Blue Badges in June and discovered seven instances where the badge holder wasn’t present.
Two people spotted in Matthew Street Car Park in Dunstable were in Luton Magistrates’ Court last week and have been convicted of wrongful use of a disabled person’s badge.
William Price from Totternhoe was found to be using a badge registered to his brother. Price told officers he had used the badge to collect his medicine whilst his brother was at home, saying that he had no money with him to pay for parking. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of £40, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and pay a contribution towards costs of £250 and now also has a criminal record.
Lorraine Sanson from Houghton Regis claimed that she had dropped her mother – the permit holder – off for a beauty appointment but had then got called into work. She left the car in the disabled bay whilst she went into work, although her mother took a taxi home. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of £40, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and pay a contribution towards costs of £150. She now has a criminal record.
Councillor Richard Wenham, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “We have had positive feedback from members of the public who have thanked us for what we are doing. People who illegally park in spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders are unnecessarily taking spaces away from those with mobility problems and other disabilities who genuinely need them. In these cases, it shows that using a Blue Badge fraudulently could not only land you in court, but it could also land you with a hefty bill and a criminal record.
“The rules around Blue Badge use are very clear and if we catch people using them fraudulently then we will take action. We have been undertaking another exercise checking blue badges this week (30 November) to ensure that these parking permits were being used correctly. Of the 96 badges checked, 6 were being fraudulently used.
“We will be directing further effort to clamp down on this type of fraud in the future. If you suspect someone of illegally using a Blue Badge, you can report it the council by calling 0300 300 8035 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”