London,
20
January
2010
|
00:00
Europe/London

Hackney Council brings successful prosecutions for Blue Badge fraud

Three people yesterday (20 January 2010) pleaded guilty to charges of misusing Blue Badges at Thames Magistrates Court in Bow, following proceedings brought by Hackney Council.

The prosecutions were the first made by the Council following the establishment of a specific anti-fraud team to crack down on people who abuse the Blue Badge disabled parking scheme.

Elaine Folivi (61) of Victoria Park Road, E9, pleaded guilty to three charges of misuse of a Blue Badge and received a conditional discharge of 12 months as well as being ordered to pay costs of £504.

Anna Luckhurst (36) of Cranbrook Rd, IG1, also pleaded guilty to three charges of Blue Badge misuse and was given a 12-month conditional discharge and costs of £504 to pay.

Mr Peter Smith (72) of Thorne Close, E11, pleaded guilty to one offence of using a photocopied Blue Badge. He was fined a total of £120 plus £15 surcharge and costs of £336.

Cllr Alan Laing, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Hackney Council takes the abuse of Blue Badges extremely seriously. The prosecutions, brought to court by our dedicated team of Blue Badge fraud investigators, send out a clear message that those abusing blue badges will not get away with it.

“Blue Badge fraud is a thoughtless crime that can limit the independence of disabled people, potentially preventing them from accessing crucial services and amenities.”

The crackdown is part of Hackney Council’s ongoing drive to wipe out Blue Badge misuse in the borough.

Before 2005, 60 per cent of car break-ins in Hackney were to steal Blue Badges. This has dropped dramatically since the Council introduced Companion Badges, which are specific to one vehicle, so pose little incentive to thieves.

To find out about the rules of Blue Badge use; or to report suspicions of fraud, contact the Blue Badge Hotline: 020 8356 8866 or email: bluebadgefraud@hackney.gov.uk

Ends

Notes for Editors

1. Hackney Council’s Blue Badge Fraud Investigation Team began operations on 1 July 2009.

2. An estimated 200 badges are stolen from vehicles every year and there are as many as 1,000 instances of Blue Badge misuse and abuse that could be occurring in London every day.

3. The Council has sent all Blue Badge holders in Hackney information outlining the rules, and suggesting ways to avoid their badges being used fraudulently.