11 October 2016

Drivers fined for blue badge fraud

Three more drivers have been fined after being caught fraudulently using disabled blue badges.

The cases were brought before Brighton Magistrates by Brighton & Hove City Council as part of a continuing crackdown on the misuse of disabled blue badges.

Clive Buckley, of Chesham Road, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,020 after pleading guilty to two counts of Blue Badge Misuse and two counts of making a false statement in appeals against a Parking Contravention Notice.

The court heard that Mr Buckley used his deceased father’s blue badge to avoid parking fees. The Blue Badge team receives information on which badge holders have died every week. 

Simon Potel, of Lock hill, Portslade, did not appear at court but was convicted in his absence of one charge of Blue Badge Misuse. He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,130.

Alan Docherty, of Ambleside Avenue, Telscombe Cliffs, pleaded guilty to one count of Blue Badge Misuse and was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling of £980.

Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said: “These prosecutions send out a clear message that blue badge misuse is being addressed in the city.

“The blue badge scheme is intended to make sure parking spaces are available for people who genuinely need them.

“We will continue to work with Sussex Police and East Sussex County Council to crackdown on misuse of blue badges and ensure that people with disabilities can get to and enjoy everything Brighton & Hove has to offer.”

Last year, the blue badge crackdown resulted in 81 prosecutions and 230 community resolution orders.

Warnings were also issued to 184 blue badge holders and 41 other drivers.

Notes to editors:

In 2014, Brighton & Hove City Council won £183,000 of government funding to help the city crack down on misuse of blue badges and free up spaces for disabled people.
Working with Sussex Police and East Sussex County Council, the funding was used to help track down people who are misusing the badges, which are issued to disabled people so that they can park more easily, to raise awareness on how blue badges should be used and the consequences of blue badge fraud. Both councils provided additional funding of £30,000.
There are around 13,000 blue badges in Brighton & Hove and a further 24,000 in East Sussex. The Audit Commission estimates that 20% of blue badges are misused.
Funding provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government has funded two blue badge fraud investigation officers operating across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove to improve detection and share intelligence.
In recent years Brighton & Hove has worked successfully with Sussex Police and NSL on 'Operation Bluebird,' an initiative to target stolen blue badges and highlight fraud. The funding allowed the work to continue and be extended.