A council-led crackdown on Blue Badge disabled parking fraud saw two unscrupulous drivers successfully convicted of wrongful use of a disabled person’s badge on Tuesday (April 23).
Blue Badges allow a disabled person to park closer to their home or destination, and can only be displayed by another person if the badge holder is present and is being dropped off or collected.
However, Earnest Bounds of Jeans Way in Dunstable, was caught in Duncombe Drive car park in Leighton Buzzard, using his wife’s Blue Badge when she wasn’t present.
Mr Bounds pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £565 (consisting of a fine of £135, £400 costs and a victim surcharge of £30).
Elizabeth Ward, of Mannock Way in Leighton Buzzard, was found using her husband’s Blue Badge in Linslade’s Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre car park when he wasn’t present.
Mrs Ward also pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £754 (consisting of a £158 fine, £566 costs and a £30 victim surcharge).
Charles Warboys, Director of Resources at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Despite what some people may think, even if you are the primary carer of someone with a disability, this doesn’t entitle you to use their blue badge without them being present.
“This may seem harsh, but if a Blue Badge is used by a carer or relative then it could prevent those in our communities who are genuinely disabled from using these parking bays.
“The bays provide a vital lifeline for the disabled by giving them convenient and allocated priority parking spaces.
“Without these, people with severe mobility problems would struggle to visit shops, access services, and visit friends and family.”
If you suspect someone of illegally using a Blue Badge for parking, you can report them to the council by calling 0300 300 8035 or by emailing email@example.com.
In late November 2018, Central Beds Council undertook a two-day Blue Badge exercise in the area. During the spot-checks, the council examined 211 Blue Badges and discovered eight instances where the badge holder wasn’t present, including the two cases in court this week.