Blue badges are issued to people with serious mobility problems and disabilities. They allow people who need extra help to park closer to their home or destination and must only be used if the person issued with the badge is present or has been dropped off or is being collected.
The wrongful use of a blue badge is a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine, a criminal prosecution and even a prison sentence.
As part of a determined crackdown on misuse, council officers have been patrolling in the borough’s town centres catching drivers red-handed. One of the recently seized badges was taken last August from a driver who was spotted by investigators displaying a blue badge when parked in Ealing Broadway.
When the driver was challenged by undercover officers she claimed that the badge was her mother-in-law’s who she had dropped off at nearby shops, but when the officers called the driver’s mother-in-law on the telephone she confirmed that she was actually at home.
The driver was found guilty in Ealing Magistrate’s Court of misuse of the blue badge in January 2016. She was fined £950 plus costs, a total of £1,395 and now has a criminal record.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, said: “I am always pleased to hear of cases like this where selfish drivers are punished for fraudulently using blue badges. People are issued with blue badges when they have real difficulty in getting around and they should only be used if the badge-holder is present.
“People may think they are doing no harm if they quickly use a blue badge that doesn’t belong to them, but what these drivers need to realise is that they are usually blocking someone with genuine mobility problems from being able to park and are breaking the law.”
Residents that suspect someone of using a blue badge fraudulently, or who would like to report a blue badge as being lost or stolen or let us know that the badge holder has died, should call 020 8825 8161.