Disabled woman cheated on test to get blue badge

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A Bedford woman who admitted exaggerating her disability has had her blue badge taken away.

Miss Smietry Bangher was also ordered to pay £760 after pleading guilty to dishonestly making a false represetnation at a blue badge assessment Luton Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates heard when the 43-year-old, of Ombersley Road, applied for a blue badge, Bedford Borough Council asked her to undergo a mobility assessment to check if she qualified.

At the assessment she claimed she could barely walk and was awarded a badge. However, concerns were raised about her disability when she was seen carrying shopping bags through Bedford town centre.

This led to an investigation by the Council’s Fraud Investigators which uncovered CCTV evidence showing Bangher walking unaided up and down stairs.

In pleading guilty to misrepresentation Miss Bangher, whose mobility is only slightly restricted, admitted she “over egged the pudding” about her disability in order to pass the test and receive a blue badge.

Her defence solicitor requested a conditional discharge because she risked losing her job as an audiologist and being struck off the Health Professions Council register.

However, the Magistrates’ imposed a fine and ordered her to pay the Council’s prosecution costs.

Executive Member for Revenue and Benefits Councillor Shan Hunt said: “Blue badges are a vital lifeline for people with serious mobility problems allowing them to park close to essential shops and services.

“When someone cheats to obtain a badge not only do they evade paying the parking charges that everyone else has to pay, they also take up a parking space that is essential for someone with a genuine disability.

“The Council is responsible for making sure only those who genuinely need a blue badge receive one and takes this duty very seriously.

“This case shows that the Council will take firm action against anyone who tries to cheat the system and inconvenience those in need of disabled parking spaces.”