A woman who fraudulently used a blue badge in Bedford town centre has been fined and convicted for fraud.
In July 2015, Clare Louise Scarfe, of Eccles Road, Ipswich was seen by a Civil Enforcement Officer parked in a restricted area in Ram Yard, Bedford, just 100 yards from the High Street.
She had a disabled persons parking permit or ‘Blue Badge’ on display, but the expiry date on the badge had been obscured and a Civil Enforcement Officer established that it had expired three years earlier.
An investigation by Bedford Borough Council’s Investigation Service discovered that no further Blue Badges had been issued to her since, despite her assurance when asked by the Civil Enforcement Officer that her new badge was at home.
Scarfe was found guilty of fraud by false representation, following a trial in her absence at Luton Magistrates' Court on July 19. She was ordered to pay a fine of £484 and costs of £1,670.
The trial followed Scarfe failing to attend many previous hearings, despite being summonsed, until she was arrested and put before St Albans Magistrates' Court where she had entered a not guilty plea for trial at Luton.
Councillor Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Blue Badge fraud is an offence and it takes vital parking spaces away from people with disabilities. Bedford Borough Council takes cases of Blue Badge fraud very seriously, and we will continue to pursue and prosecute people who commit this crime.”