Two drivers caught by council counter-fraud officers illegally using disabled parking badges have been fined £800 by magistrates.
Mohammed Mohammed, 20, of Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, and Berkan Birol, 22, of Commerce Road, Wood Green, were each fined £400, ordered to pay £140 costs and a £40 victim surcharge after pleading guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on 5 July to wrongfully using a disabled persons badge.
The court heard that Mohammed was caught by an officer from the council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) who was carrying out checks on blue badges being displayed in cars parked in streets in Hendon in December last year.
The checks revealed the badge on display in Mohammed’s car was registered to somebody born in 1936. When questioned, Mohammed admitted he had used the badge, which was registered to his grandmother, because he was late for an exam at Middlesex University.
Blue badges can only be used by the named badge holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the badge holder from the place where the vehicle is parked. It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use a blue badge in any other circumstances.
Later the same day officers spotted a different blue badge registered for someone else born in 1938, although the car displaying the permit was registered to a different person, Berkan Birol.
When Birol was confronted he also admitted his badge belonged to his grandmother and that he too used it if he was running late for exams at Middlesex University.
Barnet Council Leader, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “Using a blue badge fraudulently denies someone in genuine need of a parking space and is a criminal offence.
“Anyone caught misusing one of the badges can ultimately find themselves being brought before the courts and ending up with a criminal record.
“I hope these prosecutions send out the very clear message that it is not acceptable for these permits to be used illegally.”
In June this year CAFT officers seized six blue badges during a spot check operation in the Chipping Barnet and Golders Green areas.