Ealing Council is tackling improper use of blue badges across the borough and warning offenders that they face fines and prosecution if they are caught.
In the last year the council has successfully prosecuted 70 cases of blue badge misuse in court – sending a clear message to offenders that fraud will not be tolerated.
The council has checked more than 2,180 blue badges, seizing those that had been cancelled, stolen, and faked.
Blue badges are issued to people with serious mobility problems and disabilities. They allow people who need extra help to park closer to their home or destination.
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. Misuse can result in a hefty fine, a criminal prosecution and even a prison sentence.
Council officers patrol the borough looking for evidence of blue badge misuse. A recent example took place in Mattock Lane, Ealing when a driver was stopped after returning to the vehicle which was displaying an organisational blue badge.
Under caution the driver stated that the blue badge was issued to a care home. The driver initially claimed that they had dropped one of the residents there when they had parked the car, however, when informed that they had been observed parking at the location the driver agreed that they were alone when parked. When asked why they were there that day the driver admitted to using the bank and going shopping.
The driver received a fine of £1,000, costs of £438 and victim surcharge of £30 at Ealing magistrate’s court.
Councillor Mik Sabiers, cabinet member for environment and highways said: “Ealing Council is taking tough action against selfish drivers who commit fraud with blue badges. I am pleased that we have secured dozens of successful prosecutions over the last year.
“People may think they are doing no harm if they quickly use a blue badge that doesn’t belong to them, but what these drivers need to realise is that they are usually blocking someone with genuine mobility problems from being able to park and are breaking the law.”
Residents that suspect someone of using a blue badge fraudulently, or who would like to report a blue badge as being lost or stolen or let the council know that the circumstances of the badge holder has changed, should call 020 8825 8161.