Scandal of blue badge abusers

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MORE than 50 blue badges have been destroyed since April because of fraud, new research has revealed.

Wigan Council released the figures after the Department for Transport revealed that prosecutions for blue badge fraud have risen by 84 per cent in a year.

The misuse of blue badges is an illegal and wholly selfish act which abuses a system there to help disabled people in our communities

Coun Paul Kenny

They are now urging people to phone their Blue Badge hotline if they suspect they know of any misuse.

The council said that since April 1, 2015, they had investigated 72 alleged cases of fraud or abuse in the borough, leading to action in 59 of those.

Following on from this, 51 badges were taken out of circulation and destroyed and eight formal cautions were administered and accepted. 40 warning letters were also issued.

Formal cautions are administered as a final warning and the council will consider a prosecution in cases where the offender commits fraud again. Officers also conducted two enforcement days at different locations across the borough in which 43 blue badges were inspected and seven badges confiscated and destroyed due to being expired.

Councillor Paul Kenny, cabinet member for resources, said: “The misuse of blue badges is an illegal and wholly selfish act which abuses a system there to help disabled people in our communities.

“People who are currently misusing blue badges in the borough need to be aware that they are risking being taken to court and receiving a heavy fine.

“Blue badges are a huge help to disabled people to get out and about and they should only be used by the person whose name is on the

badge.”

Figures from the Department for Transport showed that in 2014/15 councils took action in against 985 people for blue badge fraud.