A man who changed the expiry date on his blue badge to avoid paying for parking has been ordered to pay £100 and given a conditional discharge.
John Winstone, formally of Bedford Road, Roxton, appeared at Bedford Magistrates Court on Tuesday, April 15 and pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently making false representation.
Magistrates heard that Mr Winstone had purposely changed the expiry date on his blue badge.
The deception was uncovered during a routine patrol by a Civil Enforcement Officer. The court considered a custodial sentence but in view of mitigating personal circumstances Mr Winstone was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.
In sentencing, the magistrate told John Winstone: “We can all have our own philosophies, but in society we must accept our responsibilities. The offence was akin to someone fiddling their car tax, you must recognise the seriousness of this offence, and I am stepping outside the guidelines and imposing a conditional discharge for 12 months and order that you pay costs to the council of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.”
Councillor Shan Hunt, Executive Member for Revenue and Benefits, said: “Blue badges help people who have serious problems with their mobility to park closer to shops and other amenities and I understand that residents are rightly concerned about their misuse.
“Fiddling or changing a blue badge for any reason is an offence and we will take action against anyone misusing or altering a blue badges.”
If you have any questions about the use of a blue badge, you can raise them in the following ways:
Visit www.bedford.gov.uk/bluebadge or call 01234 718009
Visit the Customer Contact Centre on Horne Lane.
Any concerns about fraud or misuse of blue badges can be reported free and confidentially on the Council’s Fraud Hotline phone number 0800 917 8491.
A conditional discharge is included on an individual’s criminal record. However, if no further misdemeanours occur in the following period of time, it is removed.