Clampdown on Blue badge cheats
- Council and democracy
Barnet counter-fraud officers seized disabled parking badges, including stolen permits during a day-long crack down and have carried out a series of prosecutions against blue badge cheats in the last three months.
Officers carrying out spot checks across the Finchley Central and North Finchley areas on 23 August found 10 badges being misused by drivers to avoid parking restrictions, and were able to seize a total of eight permits, two of which were found to be stolen.
The operation also involved police officers and parking enforcement officers. Motorists caught during the operation could now face prosecution.
In the last three months, Barnet’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) has brought more than 10 cases of blue badge fraud before the courts.
On 29 August, Errol Lipman, 58, of Turners Wood, Golders Green , was fined £1,000 after he was caught using a photocopy of a relative’s expired disabled parking permit to park his car while visiting a gym. He pleaded guilty to fraud and forgery offences at Willesden Magistrates’ Court. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,001 and a £100 victim surcharge.
Earlier in August, Alisa Clarke, 21, of Barrons Close, Ongar, Essex, received a £250 fine, was ordered to pay £1,162 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge after pleading guilty at the same court to misusing a blue badge belonging to one of her relatives.
Clarke was caught using the badge by counter-fraud officers during spot checks on parked cars in Hendon in February. Checks on the badge revealed it had been issued by Essex County Council and had been cancelled.
Melanie Wilson, 37, of Gervase Road, Edgware, was fined by magistrates in July after being caught parking her car with a badge which had been reported lost. She then failed to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court and was found guilty in her absence. She was ordered to pay the maximum fine of £1,000, costs of £950 and a victim surcharge of £100.
San Yang, 57, of The Grange, Whetstone, was given a £500 fine, ordered to pay £500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £50 in June after he pleaded guilty to using a relative’s badge to park. It was the second time he had committed the offence of misusing a blue badge.
Blue Badges can only be used by the named badge holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the badge holders from a place where the vehicle is parked. It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use a Blue Badge in any other circumstances.
In another parking-related prosecution, Chikelie Chiwendu, 52, of Pendragon Walk, Colindale, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud by false representation after he attempted to avoid paying parking tickets by doctoring proof of an AA call out in an attempt to make it look as if his car had broken down when it was ticketed.
The court was told how Chiwendu crudely altered the date on a previous record of an AA call-out for his car. He was caught after officers obtained evidence from the AA disproving his claims.
He was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £50 at Willesden Magistrates’ Court in July.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, Council Leader, said: “Our counter-fraud officers have carried out a great deal of work to catch those who are intent on using disabled parking badges to park for free and avoid parking restrictions.
“These badges are intended to help those in genuine need and it is not acceptable for people to try and cheat the system in this way.
“These are criminal offences and anyone caught using one of these badges illegally can expect to be caught and ultimately face prosecution.”
To report a fraud, call the fraud hotline 020 8359 2007 or report it online.