Brakes drawn on disabled blue badge abusers in Wembley

Clampdown on cheeky drivers abusing the scheme to park for free

Drivers suspected of being parking cheats were shown the red light in a clampdown on the abuse of blue badges in Wembley.

Brent Council teamed up with the police and the Blue Badge Team to draw the brakes on motorists fraudulently using the badges which are given to people suffering from a disability.

Under current rules, a motorist can park in a Controlled Parking Zone or a pay and display bay 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.

Blue badges have a photograph of its owner inside enabling the team to ascertain who it belongs to.

Yesterday (Wednesday), a total of 25 badges were seized from drivers caught using them without its owner during the operation which took place in St John’s Road, London Road, Cecil Road and Ealing Road.

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They were all handed down a �60 fine and could be called in for a formal interview under caution by council chiefs.

Some badges will be returned to its registered owner with a formal warning but if the badge is found to have been fraudulently used in the past it may be confiscated for good.

Simon Lane, Head of Brent Council’s audit and investigations said: “This is the third proactive operation since March 2011 and the highest number of badges seized.

“The message from the council is clear; we will do all we can to protect disabled parking spaces for those who genuinely need them. Abuse of the scheme is selfish and deprives genuine users of the ability to access shops and other facilities.”

Stricter parking rules and rocketing charges has resulted in a rise in the black market trade of blue badges with some exchanging hands for as much as �500 each.