A DEAD person's disabled parking badge has been returned to the Barnsley Council as part of a crackdown on 'blue badge' fraud.

The discovery was made by council and police officers during a two-day operation in September to tackle the misuse of blue disabled parking badges.

Parts of Barnsley town centre that were identified as being at high risk of blue badge fraud were visited by officers, including the multi-storey car park.

The exercise took place earlier this month when 51 badges were inspected by civil enforcement officers and police to ensure they were being used by the registered holder.

As a result of the operation the badge of a person who had died was returned to the council, one badge was confiscated and penalty charge notices were issued to eight vehicles displaying a disabled blue badge, despite the badge holder not being present.

Barnsley Council says abuse of the scheme deprives those in genuine need of parking spaces located close to amenities and shops.

"Parking spaces for disabled drivers are all over the town centre and, in my opinion, are largely respected," said Cllr Jenny Platts.

"However, the message from this scheme is clear - blue badges are meant to help disabled people and are not free parking passes for able-bodied drivers.

"While there are clearly cases where people have mistakenly used them incorrectly, where we find persistent misuse or fraudulent abuse of a blue badge we will take it away and may even be forced to prosecute."