Three people were convicted yesterday (Tuesday, October 9) for wrongful use of disabled Blue Badges in Dunstable.
On Thursday, June 14, council officers took part in an enforcement exercise to ensure that Blue Badge disabled parking permits were being correctly used in Central Bedfordshire.
During this exercise, the council officers checked 124 Blue Badges, they found vehicles in Ashton Square Car Park in Dunstable where the eligible badge holder was not present, so further action was taken.
William Roe, of West Street, Dunstable, was found guilty of using his wife’s Blue Badge when she was not present. Mr Roe pleaded guilty by post to one offence of misuse of a Blue Badge parking permit.
He was sentenced to pay a fine of £80, a victim surcharge of £30 and £390 costs, coming to a total of £500.
In another case heard at Luton Magistrates Court on Tuesday, a Dunstable woman was sentenced to pay fines totalling £1,072 for Blue Badge misuse, when she falsely claimed that she was with her disabled daughter who was later confirmed as being in school at the time.
Mr Roe and the Dunstable woman were both found guilty of misuse of a blue badge parking permit under Section 117(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Christina Money, of Tunworth Crescent in London, was found guilty of displaying a Blue Badge which should have been returned to Wandsworth Council. When officers checked they found the badge was not registered to Ms Money but to her father, who had died more than 12 years previously. The badge displayed also had an altered expiry date.
After pleading guilty, Ms Money was given a community order of 60 hours of unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £481 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.
A woman from Houghton Regis was also convicted on Tuesday for wrongful use of a disabled Blue Badge.
Lindsey Buckwell, of Fensome Drive, was spotted by an officer in Leighton Buzzard using a Blue Badge. When the officer approached her, she said the Blue Badge belonged to her aunt and she was supposed to pick her up but plans had changed. She then drove off when the officer attempted to discuss the situation with her.
Fraud officers have since established that the Blue Badge she had been using had been reported as lost two years ago, and did not belong to either Ms Buckwell or her aunt. When formally interviewed, she admitted that she had lied and that she had found the Blue Badge and decided to use it.
Ms Buckwell pleaded guilty by post to an offence of displaying a Blue Badge that should have been returned to the council. She was sentenced to pay a fine of £666, a victim surcharge of £66 and £481 costs, with overall fines totalling £1,213.
Councillor Richard Wenham said: “People who illegally park in spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders are thoughtlessly taking spaces away from those with mobility problems and other disabilities who genuinely need them.
“Blue Badges are issued to people in our community who need them the most. They allow a disabled person to park closer to their destination and must only be used by another person if the badge holder is present and being dropped off or collected.
“We will be directing further effort to clamp down on this type of fraud in the future.
“The rules around Blue Badge use are very clear. If we catch people using them fraudulently then we will take action.”
If you suspect someone of illegally using a Blue Badge, report it to the council by calling 0300 300 8035.