Pensioner prosecuted for making and using a fake Blue Badge
Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing service is reminding anyone who abuses the disabled parking system that they will face the full weight of the law.
This advice follows a successful prosecution on 9 July 2018 of a case brought under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 against a pensioner from Weston Rhyn.
Mr Christopher Thomas pleaded guilty to three offences of making and using a false disabled persons Blue Badge. The fake badge was seized in February 2018 by a Shropshire Council civil enforcement officer who had witnessed it on display in a vehicle belonging to Mr Thomas, which was parked in a disabled bay in Oswestry.
During the investigation, Mr Thomas told investigating officers that his wife passed away in 2004, following which he made a copy of a badge that had been legitimately issued to her before she died. He informed officers that he had no plans to apply for a genuine blue badge for himself going forward. The court considered the matter was so serious it imposed a sentence of 12 weeks imprisonment which was suspended for 2 years and instructed that Mr Thomas should pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling over £1,500.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said:
“The council is committed to meeting the needs of disabled persons who are entitled to use the parking concessions available across Shropshire. The misuse of a fraudulent disabled persons badge is a criminal offence, and the service takes its responsibility for identifying and taking appropriate action against offenders very seriously.”
Joyce Barrow, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, waste and regulatory services, added:
“Since its introduction in 1971, the Disabled Persons Parking Scheme has made a valuable contribution to the mobility of many disabled people. Shropshire Council’s provision of on-street parking concessions for blue badge holders is intended to assist independent mobility by allowing disabled persons to park closer to their destination. Without legal action being taken against offenders, not only will a scheme that was designed to help disadvantaged members of society fall into disarray, but members of the public who abide by parking restrictions will become disillusioned with imposed parking controls that are abused.”
Shropshire Council encourages individuals to contact its trading standards and licensing service on 0345 678 9000 if they have any suspicions that Blue Badge-related offences may be being committed. Information can be given anonymously and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.
Further advice on parking controls and the use of disabled persons badges can be found on the council’s website at https://shropshire.gov.uk/parking/