A MAN who attempted to avoid parking charges by using his deceased father’s Blue Badge has become one of Barnsley’s first prosecutions for abuse of the scheme.
Andrew Heath Wyatt, 54, from Hemingfield, pleaded guilty to fraudulently using a Blue Badge at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court, after the court was told he’d altered his father’s badge to make it appear valid and in-date.
Wyatt was ordered to pay costs totalling £1191.55, comprising a £500 fine, additional costs of £641.55 and victim surcharge of £50.
Emma Louise Moss, 35, from Royston, also pleaded guilty to using her disabled daughter’s Blue Badge when she wasn’t present, and was fined £146, with additional costs of £100 and a £32 victim surcharge.
Coun Alan Gardiner, one of 16,000 Blue Badge holders in Barnsley, said the prosecutions sent a ‘clear message’ to those thinking about misusing the scheme.
Coun Gardiner said: “The majority of Blue Badge holders use their badges legitimately, but a minority misuse them for their own benefit. This means that there are fewer disabled parking bays available for those who really need them.
“These prosecutions send a clear message to people of the consequences for misusing a Blue Badge. It’s a criminal offence which could result in a fine of £1,000 and confiscation of the badge.
“Our enforcement team will continue to combat fraud and where appropriate, will prosecute.”
Barnsley is one of 100 upper tier local authorities that has developed a policy for abuse, namely theft or inappropriate misuse, of the Blue Badge system.
However, in 2019 the council didn’t prosecute anyone for such offences, while the number of prosecutions made throughout the country has increased year-on-year – with the 1,432 reported last year an increase of almost a fifth on
the previous year’s 1,215, and up from 1,131 in 2016/17.
According to Department for Transport data, Sheffield prosecuted nine people for Blue Badge abuses, and in Rotherham 12 people faced charges in 2019.
An overwhelming majority of cases are made against non-badge holders using someone else’s badge, and can lead to fines up to £1,000 and the seizing of the badge.