A Bedford man who has been on a number of long-distance walks has been in court charge with Blue Badge fraud.
Paul Gregory, 51, of College Road, a coast to coast walker, pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining a disabled persons’ Blue Badge at a hearing at Luton Magistrates Court on Tuesday, March 24.
Mr Gregory appeared in court where he pleaded guilty to two charges of making false representations to Bedford Borough Council to obtain a Blue Badge.
The court heard evidence that Mr Gregory made a false application for a Blue Badge claiming he could only walk 200 metres and that he got breathless when walking for more than a few minutes.
Officers investigating the case discovered that Mr Gregory had been on numerous walking trips with the Bedford Mountaineering Club whilst he both held, and was applying to renew, his Blue Badge.
During their investigations, Bedford Borough Council officers found a press article featured in the West Moorland Gazette on September 13, 2012, which stated that Mr Gregory had been on the third day of a 191-mile walk when he was attacked by cattle.
Mr Gregory had also enjoyed a weekend walking in Capel Curig, Wales just days before making an application for a Blue Badge to Bedford Borough Council.
The case has been adjourned for pre-sentencing reports. Mr Gregory is due to appear at Luton Magistrates Court on April 23 for sentencing.
A council spokesperson said “This is one of the most outrageous cases of Blue Badge fraud the council has investigated to date.
“Mr Gregory convinced a council physiotherapist that he could barely walk whilst he was taking part in national walking trips that many able-bodied adults would find difficult. Blue Badges are intended to help people with genuine disabilities so that they can park close to essential services. Mr Gregory’s abuse of the scheme is completely unacceptable and we will continue to investigate all reports of Blue Badge fraud thoroughly.”
Fraudulent Blue Badge applications will be investigated by Bedford Borough Council and steps taken against those who abuse the system unfairly. To report Blue Badge fraud or misuse confidentially please call free on 0800 917 8491 or visit www.bedford.gov.uk/bluebadge