Eastbourne woman fined for illegal use of Blue Badge

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A 51-year-old woman from Eastbourne was fined for illegally using a Blue Badge just before dozens were handed in as part of the council’s successful two-week amnesty.

East Sussex County Council launched a crackdown on people fraudulently using the permits to park in disabled bays and dodge parking charges, inviting them to hand in the Blue Badges to avoid prosecution.

A total of 36 Blue Badges were handed in at parking shops, libraries and council offices across the county during the amnesty.

Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, said: “While we were pleased that a number of illegal permits were handed over, we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“By continuing to use these Blue Badges, motorists are making life extremely difficult for those who have a genuine need, as well as costing the taxpayer as much as £5,000.

“We gave everyone illegally using a Blue Badge the chance to avoid further action. Those who did not take advantage of this opportunity will be caught and face robust action.”

East Sussex County Council has already been involved in a number of prosecutions including;

• An 80-year-old from Ringmer who continued to use his wife’s Blue Badge two years after her death. He was fined £50, ordered to pay £100 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

• A 58-year-old woman from St Leonards who was caught displaying her father’s Blue Badge more than a year after he died. She was given a community order and told to pay £150 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge

• A 51-year-old woman from Eastbourne who altered the expiry date on her mother’s Blue Badge. She was handed a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge

• A 77-year-old man from Chiddingly who displayed out-of-date badge, which was no longer valid. He was fined £155, ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge

All fraudulently used permits handed in during the amnesty have been destroyed.

The amnesty was part of Operation Bluebird, a joint initiative between East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Police to tackle the issue of Blue Badge fraud.

Government funding of £183,000 was awarded to Operation Bluebird to pay for the recruitment of dedicated Blue Badge fraud investigation officers operating across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove to improve detection and share intelligence

Operation Bluebird will continue over the next two years and members of the public are being encouraged to report the misuse of Blue Badges by calling 01323 464244 or emailing badgefraud@eastsussex.gov.uk.

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