Bath and North East Somerset Council have secured another six successful prosecutions against members of the public in its fight against ‘blue badge fraud’.
At Bath Magistrates Court on Friday 13th June, six people pleaded guilty to misusing a blue badge; this follows four earlier successful prosecutions in March.
A Council spokesman said there will be further targeted operations looking for misuse of blue badges in Bath and surrounding towns and villages during the summer.
Cllr Caroline Roberts, Cabinet Member for Transport, (LibDem, Newbridge), said: “Using a stolen or fake blue badge or allowing a family member or friend to use them is fraud and it prevents drivers with a genuine need being able to find a space to park.
“By working together and tackling blue badge abuse and fraud, we can increase the availability of spaces for genuine blue badge users.”
Anyone caught fraudulently using or abusing blue badges could face prosecution, the Council warned.
The maximum fine if someone is convicted is £1,000 and a ban from driving or even a custodial sentence if the badge is fake or stolen. Misusing a Blue Badge by allowing other people to use it could also result in the badge being taken away.
Cllr Roberts said: “We welcome any enforcement that makes sure those who are entitled to blue badges are the rightful users and holders of this facility.
“We have worked closely with the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood team, the blue badge issuing team and our parking team. The impact of the blue badge counter fraud initiative has been very positive.
“We have had very good feedback from genuine badge holders who have been checked and appreciated what we are trying to achieve. Blue badge misuse and fraud impacts on disabled residents and visitors and limits their ability to access everything from essential supplies, to general shopping and entertainment.”
Graham Footer from Disabled Motoring UK, said: “I am sure that each and every disabled driver or passenger would be delighted with any efforts to tackle blue badge fraud. Disabled drivers feel that blue badge fraud impacts on them as it adversely affects the general public’s view of blue badge holders as a whole.
“They, quite rightly, question why an able-bodied person has a badge, not realising that the badge is a fake or being misused.”
If you suspect blue badge fraud, please report it to the Council’s Parking Services team on 01225 477133/4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try to get as many details as possible from the badge on display (name, serial number, expiry date etc) but do not approach people you suspect of misusing a badge. The council will investigate and take action if the badge can be shown to be displayed fraudulently.