Five Sheffield motorists who illegally used a relative or friend’s blue badge to park for free in the city have been fined a total of £2,365.
It brings the number of successful prosecutions for the wrongful use of a blue badge to 28 – with Sheffield Magistrates’ Court handing down fines totally almost £15,000 in the past six months.
Sheffield is at the cutting edge of efforts by local authorities to tackle this issue.
Sheffield City Council has brought the cases to court under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, with more cases likely to be heard in the weeks ahead.
Blue badges will be removed from the person they were issued to following prosecution.
The Council launched a clampdown earlier this year warning that improper use can lead to a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000 plus any costs awarded by the court.
Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m delighted that the court continues to view these abuses with the seriousness they deserve. This isn’t a minor offence. Abusing another person’s blue badge to park for free simply will not be tolerated in Sheffield. I hope these convictions send a clear message that we will not put up with this at all.
“I want to be crystal clear with people who think they can take a friend or relative’s blue badge – if you take advantage of this scheme, my team will take you to court. A criminal prosecution, heavy fine and a criminal record will all follow. We won’t turn a blind eye or issue warnings.
“Nobody else can use the blue badge unless they are travelling with the owner. Places are reserved for genuine blue badge users because they are close to major amenities or close to schools or hospitals. Illegal use stops those people from accessing the facilities they need.
“It is selfish and unfair to people who use the scheme properly. So if you let someone else use your blue badge, they will be prosecuted and fined and the vehicle will get a penalty charge notice too. We will also reluctantly confiscate your own blue badge.
“I’m saddened that we have now seen nearly 30 people before the courts, and still have more prosecutions to follow. I hope people will realise that we will continue to pursue these cases and that there really is no excuse. The improper use of blue badges has a major impact on people who actually have disabilities, causing parking problems and discrediting the whole scheme.”
|Sheffield Magistrates’ Court issued the following fines recently.
Prosecuted on 26 September
Stacho Georgiev, aged 37, of South Road, Walkley, pleaded guilty and was fined £100, costs £410, surcharge £30 – total £540.
Imran Khan, aged 38, of Popple Street, Sheffield, pleaded guilty and was fined £100, costs £410, surcharge £30 – total £540.
Prosecuted on 10 October
Gemma Vicary, 33, of Jaunty Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty. She was conditionally discharged for 12 months but must pay costs of £310, surcharge £20 – total £330.
Shako Kihuyu, 43, of Uttley Drive, Sheffield, pleaded guilty and was fined £75, costs £310, surcharge £30 – total £415.
Nazakat Ali Khan, aged 37, of College Court, Sheffield, pleaded guilty and was fined £100, costs £410, surcharge £30 – total £540.
Blue badge fraud has been estimated to cost the country £46million each year.. A significant amount of this cost is lost parking income, as blue badge users can park for free in Council parking spaces and on some yellow line parking restrictions.
It is believed fraudulent blue badge use poses a significant cost to the city as the pay and display parking areas are not being used as they should be.
There are currently more than 24,000 blue badges in circulation within Sheffield – 225 of these belong to organisations and the remainder are individual badges.