Ealing Council catches blue badge fakes

Three blue badges were cancelled last month after Ealing Council parking staff caught drivers using them fraudulently.

Blue badges are issued to people with disabilities and can only be used if the person issued with the badge is present.

Blue badge fraud usually involves either friends and family members using the badge when they are not permitted to, or drivers using lost, stolen or counterfeit badges.

The fraudulent use of a blue badge is a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine.

The council took part in a trial operation last year to crack down on blue badge fraud and 22 drivers have so far been successfully prosecuted.

A badge issued by Newham Council was being used by a van driver making deliveries to an address in Southall. The driver claimed to have found the badge and it was confiscated by the officer.

A Hounslow Council-issued badge was withdrawn after an officer spotted it being used on a car parked in a disabled bay outside a building site in The Avenue, Ealing. The badge had expired and the person it was registered to was not present. Once again, the badge was seized on the spot.

The third badge has been used fraudulently at several addresses in Southall. The driver has managed to evade civil enforcement officers so far, but Buckingham County Council, who issued the badge, has cancelled it and it will be taken away at the first opportunity.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: "Blue badges are issued to people who face real difficulty in getting around and are often a lifeline."

"Anyone using a blue badge fraudulently should know that our staff are looking out for them and will take every opportunity to enforce the law."