Six people who fraudulently used a blue badge to park for free in Sheffield have been ordered to pay a total of £2,495 by magistrates.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court has heard how blue badges issued to elderly or disabled people, or which could only be used if a parent was with a disabled child at the time, so they could park for free have been used wrongfully.
They were the second group of people to be prosecuted by Sheffield City Council under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, with civil enforcement officers hoping to bring more cases in the weeks ahead.
The prosecutions come after the Council launched a clampdown on blue badge fraud with the improper use leading to a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000 plus any costs awarded by the court.
Blue badges which are found to be used fraudulently – even if they have been issued for genuine reasons – can be confiscated as a result of any successful prosecution.
Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure at Sheffield City Council, said: “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.
“My message to people who have fallen into the habit of taking a relative’s blue badge is clear – 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. We will pursue these criminals with the full force of the law.
“Places are reserved for genuine blue badge users because they are close to major amenities or close to schools or hospitals. Fraudulent use stops those people from accessing the facilities they need. It is selfish and unfair to genuinely disabled people. What’s more, a blue badge will be removed upon successful prosecution.
“Nobody can use a blue badge unless they are travelling with the owner. We won’t hesitate to confiscate blue badge passes where they are misused.”
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.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court issued the following fines on Tuesday 11 July.
Alison Sharp, aged 32, of Binstead Grove, Sheffield, pleaded guilty by post to fraudulent use of a blue badge on 11 November 2016 on School Road in Crookes. Fined £200, costs £200, surcharge £30.
Sarah Haynes, aged 33, of Overend Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty by post to fraudulent use of a blue badge on the 27 March 2017 on Pinstone Street, Sheffield. Fined £180, costs £200, surcharge £30.
Paul Gardner, aged 28, of Sky Edge Avenue, Sheffield, pleaded guilty by post to fraudulent use of a blue badge on 8 November 2016 on Allen Street, Sheffield. Fined £135, costs £410, surcharge £30.
Dennis Renshaw, aged 66, of Harney Close, Sheffield, , pleaded guilty by post to fraudulent use of a blue badge on 2 December 2016 on Dixon lane, Sheffield. Fined £80, costs £200, surcharge £30.
Adam Stride, aged 31, of Whinacre Close, Sheffield, pleaded guilty by post to fraudulent use of a blue badge on 6 November 2016 on Union Street, Sheffield. Fined £120, costs £410, surcharge £30.
Tracey Scott, aged 53, of Rose Avenue, Houghton Le Spring, near Sunderland, found guilty in her absence of fraudulent use of a blue badge on 10 December 2016 on Leadmill Road, Sheffield. Fined £80, costs £100, surcharge £30.