Brent Council draws the brakes on blue badge cheats

Eighteen badges seized in first ever clampdown

PARKING cheats fraudulently using disabled blue badges had the brakes drawn on their scam in the borough’s first ever clampdown.

The operation carried out by Brent Council, the police and blue badge officials, resulted in the confiscation of 18 badges from drivers suspected of abusing the system last week.

Under current rules, a motorist can park in a Controlled Parking Zone all day or for up to three hours on selected yellow lines across the borough if they display a valid badge.

However, the badge is only to be used when its owner is with the driver.

The operation was rolled out in St John’s Road, Elm Road and London Road in Wembley, and Scarle Road, Swinderby Road and Thurlow Road, all off Ealing Road, after traffic wardens noticed a high-level of badges being used in parked cars on those streets.

The drivers who had their badges seized were fined �60, and will be called in for a formal interview under caution by council chiefs.

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The badge will be returned to its registered owner with a formal warning but if the badge is found to be used fraudulently a further two times it will be confiscated for good.

Out of the 18 seized, three are suspected of being lost, stolen or counterfeit and if this is confirmed the driver will be hauled before the courts.

Simon Lane, head of audit and Investigation at Brent Council, told the Times the Department of Transport estimates a driver fraudulently using a blue badge could save between �5,500 - �6,000 a year in parking fees.

However, he added the council’s motive was to free up parking spaces for genuine blue badge users.

He said: “We get many calls from genuine blue badge holders who are unable to find parking spaces.

“The genuine badge holders were pleased to see us cracking down.

“This is warning to people that if you are using a blue badge you need to be with its registered owner.”