Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Black Mark Badges

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Black Mark Badges

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adam Jupp

Villains forging parking permits meant for disabled motorists

They're meant to make life just a little easier for those in need.

Blue badges adorn the cars of either disabled folk or their carers.

But blue badge bandits are raking in thousands flogging phoney disabled stickers.

And today we reveal how the fake permits change hands on the black market for pounds 1,000 a time.

The scam means fraudsters are clogging up prime parking spaces intended for disabled drivers only.

And council bosses said vital services are suffering because they are missing out on thousands of pounds in parking charges.

Our investigation comes as we can reveal four people are facing court for dealing in bogus blue badges. They are the first in the region to be prosecuted for the fraud.

Parking chiefs and police have vowed to crack down on the cheats who use the permits to park for free.

Newcastle Coun Anita Lower, said: "The abuse of blue badges is of great concern.

"This is especially the case where it has been discovered that people are making illegal copies of badges and selling them for prices up to pounds 1,000.

"Each permit used this way could be costing the council up to pounds 5,000 in lost parking revenue every year - money which is re-invested in improving parking services, for example by enhancing the feeling of safety and security through the addition of CCTV.

"However, the most worrying aspect is that the people who legitimately need access to disabled parking spaces are being cheated out of them.

"We take these offences very seriously and will continue to be vigilant.

"All of our parking control officers have been asked to keep a special look-out for instances of abuse and where cases come to light we will not hesitate to take legal action."

The Blue Badge scheme is intended to give free parking to people with difficulty in walking.

It applies to on-street parking and involved people who are either passengers or drivers. …

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