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Showing posts with label disabled blue badge fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disabled blue badge fraud. Show all posts

14 Aug 2018

Barnet prosecutes blue badge offenders

Parking cheats caught using blue badges which were not theirs now have criminal records. (h/t FraudManager)

Barnet Council has fined and prosecuted over 30 drivers caught abusing the system in the last three months.

Council officers also issued cautions to a further 33 motorists during the same period.

Among those prosecuted was 65-year-old Joseph Dan, from Edgware.

He was caught misusing a family member’s badge to park – having already received a warning for the same crime in another borough. He told officers he did not realise what he was doing but pleaded guilty to charges at Willesden Magistrates’ Court in June. He was fined £280, ordered to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £30.

Council Leader, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “Blue badges are intended for residents who are in genuine need, not for those looking for a way to park wherever they want, free of charge.

“The number of prosecutions brought by our CAFT officers shows just how much hard work goes into making sure drivers abusing the system are caught and dealt with.”

In April, Kalaiselvi Sripalan, 53, from Colindale, used a dead relative’s badge and received a £400 fine and an order to pay £600 in costs after pleading guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.

Source

2 Aug 2018

Lambeth recovers 60 properties in 12 months

Thirty three cases of internal fraud were reported to Lambeth Council during the 2017/18 financial year. This led to ten dismissals and two prosecutions.

The details are contained in the Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Annual Report 2017/18 report. This will be considered in more detail when the Corporate Committee meets on 26 July.

The report also states that 79 properties were recommended for recovery. This resulted in 60 being recovered by the Council.

The number of Council Tax frauds has increased: fraudulent payments total £48,037 which is an increase of 175% compared to 2016/17.

Another area where fraud has taken place in the misuse of blue badge parking. This led to forty two prosecutions by Lambeth Council.

More

30 Jul 2018

Frauds & errors found by Darwen Council

Steps to investigate fraud concerning Blackburn with Darwen Council last year have been revealed. (h/t FraudManager)

A total of 467 cases of fraud or errors were found over 2017/18 resulting in savings of £229,413 in cases relating to benefits, council tax discount, blue badges and housing.

The majority of cash saved has been from single person discount for council tax, where £87,348 has been saved through the correction of 323 instances of fraud or error.

A further £60,904 has been identified from 28 cases of people claiming benefits including housing or council tax support.

And 107 instances of fraud or error relating to blue badge or residents' parking permits have been found and corrected, totalling £57,423.

More

17 Jul 2018

Benefit frauds in Scotland quantified

More than 4,500 blue badges belonging to drivers who had died were found in Scotland as part of a nationwide crackdown on public sector fraud and blunders. The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) also uncovered more than 4,800 people who were falsely claiming council tax discounts and 280 pensioners who have had their payments stopped or reduced.

In total, the scheme found £18.6million of fraud and error across the Scottish public sector, including benefits agencies, the NHS, councils, Police Scotland and dozens of other bodies.

The auditors used data matching, for example by comparing council tax records to the electoral register or blue disabled parking badges to death records.

Scottish councils identified 4,505 blue badges where the owner had died, with North Lanarkshire having the highest total with 751. Ensuring the badges are not incorrectly used in the future will generate an estimated £2.6 million in savings.

The NFI also found 225 public sector pensions that were still being paid after the person’s death and 55 pensioners who had gone back to work without their payments being reduced. Correcting these errors will be worth £6.3million.

Councils removed 4,802 incorrect or fraudulent council tax discounts – the majority of cases involving the 25 per cent single person discount – saving £4.4million.

A further 710 housing and other benefit payments were stopped or reduced, saving £2.1million, and 100 private care home residents had their payments stopped, saving £900,000.

The NFI also found 168 duplicate payments worth £1million, with the Scottish Government making payment errors worth £279,000 and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service £135,000.

Thirteen public sector employees were identified who were not eligible to work in the UK, including two NHS agency workers, along with five students who were receiving financial support despite not having permission to study in the UK.

Audit Scotland, which leads the UK-wide exercise north of the Border, said public bodies were taking action to recover £4.8million of over-payments.

Fiona Kordiak, director of audit services, said:
Systems underpinning public spending are complex and errors can happen. There are also some individuals who seek to exploit the systems and fraudulently obtain services to which they are not entitled. What these latest results demonstrate is the value of data matching to Scotland’s public finances at a time when budgets continue to be under pressure.
Source

25 Oct 2017

The cost of disabled blue badge fraud

A crackdown on fraud and misuse of the Blue Badge is being supported by Worcestershire County Council. (h/t Fraudmanager)

Community and environmental protection officers, civil enforcement officers and council officials from across the county will be actively inspecting Blue Badges in locations with on-street disabled parking and district car parks looking for those who misuse or illegally hold Blue Badges.

The crackdown is being led by all the district councils and is a county-wide scheme.

When a badge is misused, genuine Blue Badge holders lose out on access to disabled parking bays which are closer to shops and services, to allow for easier accessibility and wider to accommodate using a mobility aid.

From a survey of English Councils by the European Institute for Combating Corruption & Fraud, the cost of detecting blue badge fraud in 2014/15 was £2.2m.

Government statistics state there are currently 2.6 million blue badges in circulation and estimates misuse of the blue badge concession to be as high as 20 per cent, with a total cost to the UK economy of £46 million.

Source

2.6 million people who are not too disabled to be driven around, but who need a special parking badge? 

That seems pretty niche. Yet seemingly over 3.5% of the population need a disabled blue badge? Surely those badges are hugely over-issued.

28 Sep 2017

Dundee team spots £100k's of frauds

Specialist investigators have identified hundreds of thousands of pounds being claimed through fraud in Dundee, it has been revealed. (h/t Fraudmanager)

The city council’s corporate fraud team has also managed to claw back thousands of pounds which had been dished out to people, through a series of probes.

During 2016/17, the council managed to recover nearly £125,000 which residents had claimed or attempted to claim through a variety of frauds linked to income, parking, welfare, tenancy, council tax and even blue badges for disabled parking.

Further investigations took place into frauds by residents dealing with other departments including trading standards, legal and licensing, and children and families. Meanwhile, the specialist team also identified frauds worth more than £330,000 in the city linked to more than 260 housing benefits overpayments.

The details have been revealed in a report to the council’s scrutiny committee, on the work of the corporate fraud team (CFT).

The CFT was set up in 2015 and has responsibility for investigating allegations of fraud linked to a variety of things, including housing benefits.

Of the money recovered, about £38,000 was from fraud linked to council tenancies and blue badges.

There were 137 cases of fraud linked to council tax reduction, exemptions and discounts, worth just over £70,000.

Greg Colgan, the council’s executive director of corporate services, said council staff worked with a variety of agencies on their investigations — including Police Scotland. They have also developed a “whistleblowing policy” in order to identify possible cases of fraud.

In addition, the CFT plans to become involved in the serious organised crime group. It already works with a number of national agencies and networks, sharing intelligence and ideas with others across the country.

Source

13 Sep 2017

Priest sentenced for blue badge parking fraud

A priest has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service after he used a dead woman’s disabled badge to park his car.

Father William Haymaker was convicted of fraud after parking his car in a disabled spot in Bexhill in December 2015.

What took so long?

The owner of the badge had died two months before.

He was also ordered to pay £3,700 in costs as well as carry out 12 months of unpaid work.

Mr Haymaker said he had promised a traffic warden to return the badge back to the council as part of registering the woman’s death, but he said he forgot to do so.

He said it was an "honest mistake" as he had seven permits in his glove compartment and was telling the “gospel truth”.

Seven permits?

Judge Christine Henson said: “You used a disabled person’s Blue Badge that did not belong to you to commit fraud. You’ve been convicted of a serious offence and you must be punished for it."

She added that his financial situation appeared "a little murky", and that she could not understand what he was spending his money on.

He told the court, as reported by The Argus, that he used to work for British Airways – but prosecutors and his legal team did not find any evidence to back up his claim.

He also said that he worked as a priest for as many as four funerals per day, provided pastoral care for the terminally ill and poor parishioners, ran errands for them and drove them to hospital appointments, for which he does not receive payment.

He also said he runs a charity called Project New Life which helps poor and neglected children in Moldova and Romania.

Earlier this year the jury unanimously found him guilty of fraud. He came to Hove Crown Court court to receive his sentencing with his official clerical dog The Venerable Mr Piddles.

Mr Haymaker was ordained in 1984 and is a rector of St Paul’s Anglican Parish in Bexhill.

Source

8 Aug 2017

Disabled blue badge fraud in Sheffield

Sheffield Council has warned people who fraudulently use blue parking badges that they will be taken to court. (h/t Fraudmanager)

Six people were ordered to pay more than £2,000 between them by magistrates when they appeared in court on July 11, in the second group prosecution brought by the authority.

This week the council said it hoped to bring more cases in the coming months as officers crack down on people who use the badges unlawfully.

Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure Jack Scott said: "This isn't a minor offence. Abusing another person’s blue badge to park for free simply will not be tolerated in Sheffield. I hope these convictions send a clear message that we will not put up with this at all."

Blue badges are issued to elderly or disabled people. They can also be used to park for free by parents if they are with a disabled child at the time.

Anyone caught using a badge fraudulently can face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000, plus any costs awarded by the court.

Blue badges which are found to be used fraudulently – even if they have been issued for genuine reasons – can be confiscated as a result of any successful prosecution.

Coun Scott added: “My message to people who have fallen into the habit of taking a relative’s blue badge is clear - if you take advantage of this scheme, my team will take you to court. A criminal prosecution, heavy fine and a criminal record will all follow. We won't turn a blind eye or issue warnings. We will pursue these criminals with the full force of the law. Places are reserved for genuine blue badge users because they are close to major amenities or close to schools or hospitals. Fraudulent use stops those people from accessing the facilities they need.

"It is selfish and unfair to genuinely disabled people. What’s more, a blue badge will be removed upon successful prosecution. Nobody can use a blue badge unless they are travelling with the owner. We won’t hesitate to confiscate blue badge passes where they are misused.”

More than 24,000 blue badges are in circulation in Sheffield. The majority belong to individuals.

Details of those found guilty

12 Jul 2017

Bizarre blue badge misuse

A Lamborghini driver with a personalised number plate used a disabled parking badge to park illegally then refused to leave a restaurant when asked to hand the badge over.

Wardens spotted the distinctive red Lamborghini parked on yellow lines in Greenwich town centre on June 5. When the wardens went to put a parking ticket on the supercar, Tamer Zinnureyin stepped out from his restaurant and placed a disabled parking blue badge on the dashboard.

Zinnureyin, 40, then claimed the car wasn’t his and promptly rushed inside the next-door restaurant and refused to come out and surrender the badge.

Police arrived and were unable to locate Zinnureyin, but family members passed over the car keys and the blue badge was confiscated.

Under police interview at a later date, Zinnureyin, of High Street in Chislehurst, claimed his mum had found the badge outside the restaurant and gave it to him, with his intention being to return it.

Zinnureyin pleaded guilty to blue badge misuse and was fined £440, plus costs of £268 with a £44 victim surcharge.

Greenwich Council's cabinet member for customer services and anti-fraud, councillor Maureen O’Mara, said: “This successful prosecution shows how seriously the Royal Borough of Greenwich takes its ongoing commitment to prevent and detect fraud. We take rigorous action to stop Blue Badge misuse which is good news for all genuine Blue Badge holders who so often are inconvenienced by other car drivers who take up valuable parking spaces whilst misusing Blue Badges they have no right to use.”

Source

26 Jun 2017

Team stops £4.3m frauds in Suffolk

An anti-fraud team for three Suffolk authorities has stopped more than £4.3 million of public money being lost to fraud in the last 12 months, latest figures have shown. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

A dedicated team of five full-time specialists work across Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils, investigating suspicious activity in Right to Buy applications, blue badge and bus pass misuse, social housing and housing benefits and council tax fraud among other activities.

After being formed in May 2015, the team reported it had stopped more than £3.2m of fraudulent activity in its first year across the three councils, and has now reported it has prevented £4.3m for the last 12 months.

Siobhan Martin, head of internal audit for the three councils, said: “It’s really making sure the money is there for the purpose it is there for, and providing value for money. We have a zero tolerance approach to fraud, and we do really mean it because there are people losing out from this. We are here to provide a public service the public are paying for, so it is about building public confidence.”

Among some of the issues identified were people using false identification, applying for Right to Buy discounts when they were unable to demonstrate how they could pay a mortgage or were otherwise ineligible, sub-letting council houses and misusing bus passes and blue badges.

In Ipswich 29 Right to Buy applications were stopped, saving nearly £2m alone. A further 21 were stopped in Waveney saving a further £2m from being lost.

Mrs Martin said the figures did not necessarily mean more fraud was happening, but said that a greater network of contacts, more experience and the addition of another investigator has helped the team prevent more fraud from happening.

It has now been approached by other authorities and agencies to help in their own work, but reiterated its zero tolerance message to would-be fraudsters.

Mrs Martin added: “We will take them down and we will prosecute if necessary.”

A spokeswoman from Suffolk police said it worked closely with partner agencies, including the fraud team, and worked alongside it to curb any criminal activity found during investigations.

To report suspicious activity confidentially call 01473 433999.

Source

24 Jun 2017

Disabled blue badge fraud in Bedfordshire

A woman who fraudulently used a Blue Badge to park in a disabled bay has been sentenced in court.

Martine Edward, of Pirton, appeared at Luton Magistrates' Court where she admitted Blue Badge fraud – a criminal offence.

The Blue Badge permit was in the name of another woman and the badge is only to be used by her or in a vehicle in which she is being transported.

Edwards was spotted on November 8 last year using the permit in Crawley Road car park, Luton, by a Luton Borough Council officer without the badge holder present in the vehicle.

As the Blue Badge holder lives in Central Bedfordshire then the case was investigated by council officers in that local authority.

When interviewed Edwards said she believed it was okay to use the badge if she was supporting a disabled person, but then accepted that it is not appropriate to take up a disabled space or to misuse a Blue Badge permit.

She confirmed that she is not eligible to use a Blue Badge permit if on her own.

Edwards was fined £183, ordered to pay £200 towards the prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

She was given credit for her previous good character and guilty plea at the first opportunity.

Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: "While some may see the overall cost of £413 as a relatively small price to pay for her offence, the real impact on Martine Edwards is that she now has a criminal conviction to her name. That may affect her current job as a social worker and could also affect future employment opportunities. Fraudulently using a Blue Badge could not only land you in court, as this case proves, but is incredibly selfish as it takes away a parking space that disabled people may need to use."

The court case follows hot on the heels of a day of action against Blue Badge fraud across Central Bedfordshire.

Officers checked 112 Blue Badges across Biggleswade, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard and Sandy last Friday (June 16) and found that seven were being fraudulently used as the badge holder wasn't present on the journey. The council will now be taking further action in these cases.

Source

27 Apr 2017

More blue badge offences in Bath

A woman who attacked a council parking attendant has admitted using a disabled badge to park for free in the centre of Bath.

Lamia Messoud pleaded guilty to parking a silver Audi in a disabled Henry Street parking bay on December 12 2016. The Blue badge displayed in the vehicle at the time belonged to her father, who officers discovered was not present.

Parking wardens saw Messoud, from Trowbridge, return to the car with a man after around 40 minutes later with Primark bags. Officers began explaining their concerns but the "two people did not look at them and locked it (the car)" prosecutor Ed Hetherington said at Bath Magistrates' Court on April 24. One of the officers then stood in front of the vehicle "and was driven into twice" the court heard. The police were called as the car drove away.

Messoud, the driver, admitted attacking the Bath and North East Somerset Council parking attendant. She received the maximum fine of £1,000 plus a £100 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay £395 in court costs. She initially denied the charge.

In a separate case a Keynsham woman said she was "very sorry" after being caught using her son's blue badge. Dorothy Smith displayed the badge to park in a bay on Somerset Street on January 23 2017. The badge had expired in 2016.

Parking enforcement officers saw Smith return to the car an hour later with shopping. She pleaded guilty via post and was fined £450, was ordered to pay £395 court costs and a victim surcharge of £45.

Source

A care worker has been caught using a blue badge which belonged to a former patient to park in Bath. Natasha Elaine McPhillips, from Radstock, parked her Citroen C1 on St James' Parade on August 19 2016. Displayed on the windscreen was a blue badge in the name of a Mr John Allen.

McPhillips did not appear at Bath Magistrates' Court for her hearing on April 24 but pleaded guilty in advance to fraud and unlawfully using the blue badge. She had used Mr Allen's cancelled badge, who she had previously looked after, for 18 months. McPhillips had known the man through a previous job but had kept his blue badge. She now works for a new employer within the care sector.

Prosecutor Mr Ed Hetherington explained how she obtained the badge when she "admitted to parking and displaying the badge after she has taken Mr Allen to hospital." He added she felt she had made a "bad error of judgement" and felt "foolish."

She was fined £450, ordered to pay court costs of £515 and a £45 victim surcharge.

Bath woman Alicia Jane Townsend used her mother's blue badge to park outside The Forum on Somerset Street earlier this year. She displayed the badge in her car on January 23 2017 while she went shopping. Mr Hetherington said Townsend returned an hour after parking up, where she told parking enforcement officers the badge belonged to her mother, who was not present. Ironically she told the officers "it was good that you are doing this" to fight parking "misuse" the court heard. But she refused to say where her mum was after admitting to going shopping in Bath.

Mr Hetherington said she has since apologised and "wouldn't normally use the badge in this circumstance." She didn't appear in court but pleaded guilty by post. She was fined £450, ordered to pay court costs of £395 and a £45 victim surcharge.

Penelope Chainey, from Trowbridge, appeared at Bath Magistrates' Court where she admitted parking in a disabled drivers' bay on Henry Street on December 12 2016. She parked her white Range Rover with a blue badge displayed which belonged to her father, although he wasn't present. She told enforcement officers she was carrying out errands for her dad who was a patient at the Royal United Hospital.

She told the court: "I was in a bit of a panic. I rushed down to take stuff and then went back to the hospital." She apologised stating she "had never done it before."

She was fined £660, ordered to pay court fees of £395 and a £66 victim surcharge.

Source

26 Apr 2017

Blue badge fraud costs over £1,000

A dead man’s blue badge was fraudulently used by his son to park on double yellow lines in Chester city centre .

Guissepe Malanga, from Boughton, Chester, has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £1,300 after he was caught by a council traffic warden.

Valid disabled blue badge holders are permitted to park on double yellow lines for a maximum of three hours. A council enforcement officer approached Malanga’s vehicle parked on double yellow lines in St Werburgh Street on September 19, 2016, at 2.15pm where he observed the time clock on the badge was set to 10.30am.

The officer also noticed the name on the badge Armando Malanga did not match with the name ‘Guissepe’ given by a female passenger, while Malanga was away from his vehicle visiting the NatWest bank.

And the officer recognised the photograph of the badge holder as a well-known male who had died some months ago. Subsequent investigations confirmed Armando Malanga had passed away on February 5, 2016, and the badge should have been returned to the council.

At Chester Magistrates Court , Malanga was fined £250 and ordered to pay full costs of £1,076 along with a victim surcharge of £30 – a total of £1,356.

Maria Byrne, director of place operations at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This successful prosecution shows that we are committed to preserving the integrity of the disabled blue badge scheme and will take appropriate action against people who abuse and misuse the scheme. Blue badge misuse is a serious crime that prevents people who genuinely have a disability from being able to find a suitable space to park.”

Source

21 Apr 2017

Blue badge fraud priest twists and turns

A Brexhill priest who claims to provide pastoral care for the terminally ill has been found guilty of fraud charges after using a Blue Badge belonging to a deceased woman.

A jury found William Haymaker, 62, guilty of the offence when he appeared at Chichester Crown Court. A date for sentencing has yet to be set.

Haymaker, an ordained Anglican minister, was caught using the Blue Badge to park in a disabled bay in Western Road, Bexhill in December 2015. The holder of the badge had died in October 2015.

In interview Haymaker said he had meant to use a Blue Badge belonging to one or two other patients, one of whom he claimed to have dropped off at a doctor’s surgery in the town. Investigations found that neither of these statements were true.

Haymaker continued to plead his innocence and the case went to the crown court.

In his defence he named yet another woman who he had thought the badge had belonged to, although she has never owned a Blue Badge. When confronted with these facts, Haymaker then went on to claim that he had not realised he had parked in a disabled bay at all.

A jury took 45 minutes to unanimously find him guilty of possessing an article for use in a fraud.

Mark Jobling, East Sussex County Council’s enforcement officer who caught Haymaker misusing the Blue Badge, said: “This is in no way a victimless crime. Every time someone fraudulently uses a blue badge, they are taking up spaces which are needed by people who are genuinely disabled. We were disappointed that Haymaker consistently refused to admit the offence, but this case clearly demonstrates how seriously we take the misuse of Blue Badges. We hope this sends out a strong message that Blue Badge fraud will not be tolerated in East Sussex and that we won’t hesitate to prosecute offenders.”

Source

13 Mar 2017

Hefty fines and costs for blue badge frauds

Two fraudsters pleaded guilty to abusing the use of blue badges for disabled people, paying a combined total of nearly £3,000 in fines and costs.

The pair, from Cheshunt and Waltham Cross, admitted to displaying blue badges not belonging to them at St Albans Magistrates' Court on Wednesday March 1.

Majinder Singh, 37, from Waltham Cross, parked in a disabled bay in Lynton Parade in Cheshunt on September 30 last year, displaying a blue badge belonging to his disabled wife, who was not there at the time. He was ordered to pay a fine of £500 and investigation costs of £500.

Adam Rozbicki, 38, from Cheshunt, displayed a blue badge belonging to his disabled father on the same day while he visited the Laura Trott Leisure Centre. He landed a fine of £800 and was ordered to pay investigation costs of £1,049.

Chris Hayward, cabinet member for resources, said: "The blue badge is for the sole use of the person named on it and must only be displayed if the badge holder is travelling in the vehicle as a driver, or passenger, or if someone is collecting them or dropping them off.

"Abuse of the blue badge scheme is unfair on genuine badge holders and offenders will be prosecuted if caught.

"Regular checks are made on blue badges and their usage to ensure that they are not stolen, forged or being misused."

Both investigations were conducted by the Shared Anti-Fraud Service, which works in partnership with Broxbourne Borough Council to investigate and prosecute allegations of fraud against council services.

The Shared Anti-Fraud Service has identified fraud valued at more than £1.1m since April last year.

Source

2 Nov 2016

Norfolk aims to clamp down on blue badge misuse

A county-wide crackdown on blue badge fraud is hoped to make life easier for disabled drivers.

Norfolk County Council has revealed it is to place greater focus on ensuring blue badges are being used correctly, after it was estimated that 20% are misused in some way.

With 42,000 currently in use in Norfolk, the council has stressed the importance of making sure they are not being used either incorrectly, or fraudulently.

This could be as simple as allowing somebody else to use your badge, parking next to a lowered kerb or just refusing to show your badge when requested by a civil enforcement officer. It could also be displaying an out-of-date badge or parking too close to a junction.

Jim Blake, blue badge investigator for Norfolk County Council said: “More and more blue badges are being misused in some way around the county and this is a criminal matter. When blue badges are issued they come with a booklet that explains the correct usage, so my advice would be to thoroughly read these through.”

As part of the crackdown, civil enforcement officers will have a greater presence around the county - excluding Norwich, which governs its own street parking - to offer advice to help people understand how not to misuse their badges. They will also be logging details of when a blue badge is misused - so as to track re-offenders.

In the second half of the month, they will then begin to issue penalty charge notices, reporting offenders to the blue badge investigator, which may result in Magistrates’ Court summons and fines of up to £1,000.

Mr Blake added: “If a civil enforcement officer asks to see your badge, please let them do so as people using their own badge correctly have nothing to worry about.”

He also advised holders to carefully check when their badges expire, not to make photocopies, and to alert the council if they witness anybody using a blue badge fraudulently.

Graham Footer, chief executive of Disabled Motoring UK, said: “DMUK fully supports local authorities enforcing the blue badge scheme. Many local authorities are taking this problem seriously and use enforcement to protect the scheme for genuine blue badge holders. We hope this will encourage other local authorities to do the same.”

Source

27 Apr 2016

Blue badge fraud takes ages to get to court

A builder’s financial problems were worsened when he was fined for using a photocopy of his father’s disabled parking permit to avoid having to feed the meter while he worked in central Croydon. (h/t Dave)

Adam Mansfield, from Rainham, Essex, admitted the charge at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on 19 April, and was fined £150 and ordered to pay £200 prosecution costs.

The court was told that, on 27 July last year, a council civil enforcement officer spotted a car, parked in Bedford Place, displaying what appeared to be a photocopy of a blue badge parking permit. A penalty charge notice was issued and the car impounded.

When collecting the vehicle, Mansfield said the badge was valid and that he had been driving his father, who was the registered holder.

Officers of the council’s fraud team spoke to Mansfield’s father, who said he had not been with the defendant at the time of the offence. In a subsequent interview, Mansfield admitted to the investigators that he had photocopied his father’s permit and had obtained a blue-badge clock from a friend.

When questioned about his actions, he stated that he was experiencing financial hardship and, while working in the vicinity of Bedford Place, had used the permit to avoid parking fees.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said:
Here’s a case that shows that crime definitely doesn’t pay.

This man fraudulently used a blue-badge parking permit with the express intention of saving a few pounds in parking fees. That small saving has now cost him £350 in fines and costs – and, more seriously, earned him a criminal record.

Blue badges are issued to motorists with a genuine need but, sadly, there are other motorists keen to try to take advantage of the benefits for their own selfish ends. They might get away with it one, two, three times, but they will eventually be caught, and when they are, they will be prosecuted and pay the price, both financially and reputationally.

1 Mar 2016

Disabled blue badge fraud costs girl £1100

A young motorist caught parking with her dead grandmother’s blue badge told investigators she was ‘using it in her honour’. (h/t Dave)

Emily Davis, 21, was stopped while using the disabled person’s badge to park in her Mini One in St George’s Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Quizzed by a Portsmouth City Council investigator she first claimed her grandmother was shopping nearby. But in truth, her grandmother Elizabeth Davis died in September 2014 – nearly a year before Davis was caught.

Now she has been fined £750 with an extra £360.20 to pay on top in costs.

Jenny Ager, prosecuting, told how on August 12 last year Davis said she had driven down from London and dropped off her nan.

Ms Ager said: ‘She said “it’s my nan’s badge, she’s shopping, I just dropped her off”.’ Davis repeated this three times, Ms Ager said. When confronted with the truth, Davis admitted: ‘Yes I’m lying, I should know better – I used to work in a custody suite.’

Davis, who wept in the dock at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, said: ‘I’ve never done anything illegal in my car, no parking things that have gone against me. I’ve never parked in inappropriate places. I’ve never used the badge before, it was the first time I’ve had it. I’ve learned a huge lesson between now and August, I’ve regretted every moment of it. I’m very sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused.’

Davis must also pay a £75 victim surcharge, meaning she pays £1,121.20 in total.

Source with pictures

7 Dec 2015

Barrister fined for using dead mother's blue badge

Two motorists who attempted to avoid paying parking charges by fraudulently using disabled “blue-badge” parking permits have been fined by Croydon magistrates. (h/t Dave)

Barrister Prithvijit Hoon displayed his dead mother’s disabled parking permit in his car as he worked in Croydon Crown Court on 22 April.

Hoon, 63, of Brookside Avenue, Wraysbury, Berkshire, pleaded guilty, in his absence, to using the blue badge in Fairfield Road, and was fined £60 and ordered to pay costs of £325.

Croydon magistrates, on 24 November, were told that a civil enforcement officer noted that the disabled parking permit displayed in a parked car had expired. The car was removed and subsequent enquiries revealed that the permit had been issued, by Ealing Council, to Mrs Roma Hoon, who had died in July, last year.

Hoon told the court, by letter, that, having arrived late for court and finding no immediately available parking space, he parked illegally, displaying the badge, which had not been returned to the issuing authority and was still in his car. He had expected his visit to be brief, but circumstances dictated that he be in court for most of the day, returning to collect his car after 5 pm.

Mr Hoon accepted his guilt immediately, saying: “I’m deeply ashamed of what I’ve done; it was a moment of aberration.”

Not "a moment" - he left it there for much of the day.

In another blue-badge fraud case on the same day, Natasha Notice, of Eresby Drive, Beckenham, was fined £60 and ordered to pay costs of £325.

The court was told that the 40-year-old, who did not attend court, was seen parking her car in Sydenham Road, Croydon, on 12 February and displaying a blue badge without the badgeholder being present.

She initially appealed the penalty charge, claiming that her nephew, the registered badgeholder, was with her at the time. However, following investigation and interview by the council’s corporate fraud team she made a full admission, stating that she had illegally parked the car while she was at work.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said:
Once again, selfish motorists have thought they could flout the law by callously abusing a facility designed make life easier for those among us who are not quite so able.

And, once again, they’ve learned to the cost of their wallet and, more importantly, their reputation, that Croydon is not the place to attempt this antisocial crime. Like others before them, they’ve been caught and made to pay the price.

Both cases took far too long to come to court.

14 Oct 2015

Croydon updates on blue badge fraud

The fight against blue-badge fraud is being stepped up in Croydon as national figures show that the number of disabled parking permits being stolen has risen by 167% over the past year. (h/t Dave)

The council has, this week, launched a simple-to-complete online form that makes it easier to report suspicions that any type of blue-badge fraud is going on. It asks for details of the vehicle involved, and what type of fraud is suspected, be it theft, misuse or alteration of the permit.

The initiative is the latest step taken by the council to stamp out the crime, and has been introduced against a background of seven proven cases of fraud over recent months, a case currently being prepared for prosecution, and a further 15 cases that are under investigation.

Local Government Association figures reveal that the number of blue-badge thefts nationally has risen from 656 in 2013 to 1,756 in 2014. The LGA highlights examples of thieves breaking into cars and retirement homes to steal the permits and using their ill-gotten gains for free parking or to sell on the black market.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said:
Croydon has long been serious in its intention to catch and prosecute those who seek to take illegal advantage of a scheme designed to ease matters for disabled motorists.

The fraudulent use of disabled parking permits is something that angers both those that use the scheme responsibly and other motorists who see it being abused – and it’s an offence that we’ll continue to combat with the full weight of the law.

The new online form gives us another means of dealing with blue-badge fraud. It underlines the fact that we consider it an issue that has to be tackled head-on and shows that we mean to see it brought to an end in Croydon.