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More drivers prosecuted for Blue Badge misuse

PUBLISHED: 13:55 06 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:55 06 April 2017

Parking meter

Parking meter

Archant

The council are apparently training civil enforcement officers to spot tampered with badges

Five drivers have been handed criminal records and ordered to pay fines totalling £2120 after being caught using a Blue Badge which was not theirs.

There have now been 26 prosecutions for Blue Badge misuse since the beginning of 2016, with the campaign to protect the integrity of the Blue Badge Scheme continuing.

The latest prosecutions follow incidents which happened between October 13 and December 13 last year and have resulted in prosecutions for Nishell Watson, Lesley-Ann Pieri-Vincent, Hannah Keefe, Jane Wallace, and Betty Cox.

Watson pleaded guilty by post after she was caught using her mother’s Blue Badge to visit the job centre in December last year.

On closer inspection, it was noticed the badge had also been tampered with – with the expiry date being altered from 2016 to 2018. Miss Watson was ordered to pay a total of £445, including court costs and a victim surcharge.

Pieri-Vincent and Cox both pleaded guilty to using their husbands’ Blue Badge while the badge holders were not present.

At the time of the confiscation, Pieri-Vincent claimed her husband was nearby and benefiting from the badge, and Cox admitted her husband was at home.

However, after an investigation by the council it was discovered both badge holders had passed away. Pieri-Vincent was ordered to pay a total of £405, and Cox was fined £560, including court costs and a victim surcharge.

After also pleading guilty to misusing a Blue Badge, Keefe was ordered to pay a total of £330, and Wallace a total of £380.

Councillor Lydia Buttinger, executive assistant for Environment said: “Here we have five individuals who could have avoided prosecution, a fine and a criminal record had they abided by the law and paid a minimal fee to park legally.

“Instead, they opted to use a Blue Badge intended to help someone with a disability get about as easily as possible. As the judge commented, drivers must ask themselves ‘is it worth it?’ before placing someone else’s badge on the dashboard if they are not part of the journey.

“The council are training civil enforcement officers to spot fake and altered badges, as well as using technology to identify badges which have been cancelled, or reported as lost or stolen.

“If you are using a badge which belongs to a relative or friend who has recently passed away, we advise you to stop using it immediately, and return it to the issuing authority.”

Blue Badge misuse is a criminal offence which can lead to a £1,000 fine and confiscation of the badge.

Anyone who suspects that a blue badge is being used for the benefit of a person who is not the badge holder can report their concerns at: www.bromley.gov.uk/reportbluebadge

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