In the last three months, Hampshire County Council has successfully prosecuted six cases of Blue Badge fraud and misuse in Andover, Fleet and Eastleigh.
The prosecutions took place between April and June, and have included offences in relation to the theft of someone else’s Blue Badge, possession and use of a counterfeit badge, as well as altering and using an expired badge which belonged to a deceased person.
Among the penalties handed out were 100 hours of community service, in addition to combined costs and fines, totaling over £2,500.
It is a criminal offence for a person to use a badge that does not belong to them; to alter a badge; to create a copy of a badge; to use an expired badge; and to commit any form of fraud relating to the use of a Blue Badge, or acquiring a Blue Badge. People who misuse Blue Badges to access disabled parking areas can face fines of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.
Hampshire County Council, as the Blue Badge issuing authority, is responsible for Blue Badge enforcement in Hampshire. Together with the district and unitary councils who are responsible for their local parking enforcement, the local authorities work together to identify potential or proven misuse, and respond to allegations of misuse. Where cases require further investigation, Hampshire County Council works with Portsmouth City Council, to carry out investigations on the County Council’s behalf. These investigations can lead to prosecution should they be serious enough to make such action necessary.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “These prosecutions send out a strong message that Hampshire County Council is committed to stamping out this type of offence. Blue Badge fraud and misuse is not a victimless crime – the actions of unentitled drivers who break the law and risk a criminal record put disabled residents at a real disadvantage – taking away spaces from those who genuinely rely on the Blue Badge scheme to provide essential support and improve their quality of life.”