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Cereal offender

The specialist counter fraud team working on behalf of Waltham Forest Council to crackdown on Blue Badge abuse have come across some fairly rubbish fake badges in the two years they have been operational, but the latest find really takes the biscuit – or should that be cookie!

It was in January this year that a Council fraud investigator identified a black Honda displaying a fake blue badge in Dacre Road, Leytonstone. The officer could see that the badge was a photocopy and the transparent tamper proof seal was not transparent or the hologram genuine.

However, it was only when the ‘badge’ was examined that it was revealed to have been made out of a Cookie Crisp cereal box! Thames Magistrates were patently not impressed with the owner of the vehicle, Mr Omar Sharif, and his handiwork and duly fined him £1,000 and ordered him to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £525 in costs when he appeared in court on 10 October.

“It really is incredible,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment. “That people have such disregard for disabled drivers and the necessity for them to have somewhere to park closer to shops and services. 

“The people who steal these spaces – and it is stealing – obviously have no moral compass whatsoever. It’s truly despicable that they are prepared to go to such lengths to cheat their way to free parking and it’s why we have put such resource into combatting this sort of atrocious behaviour that sadly goes on all too often.”

The Council’s crackdown on blue badge abusers has just reported back figures on the second year of operation, with 165 badges seized in year two up from 146 in the first year. In all 46 vehicles with lost, stolen or fake badges have been removed and impounded since the scheme launched in September 2012, and 88 cases have been prepared for prosecution.

While the good work in identifying blue badge fraudsters continues, the Council is also asking that drivers respect the rights of disabled motorists with regard to advisory disabled bays. These are not spaces where you must display a blue badge, but simply spaces set aside for disabled motorists, often in residential areas.

However, because they are only advisory, non-disabled motorists who inconsiderately use the bays cannot be prosecuted or sanctioned in the same ways as described above. Please have consideration for your disabled neighbours and think about how much more difficult it will be for them to park far from their house if you are someone who parks in a disabled spot.

To report someone you suspect is misusing a blue badge, phone 0845 331 2392 and select option 5.

PHOTOS: The front of the badge was unconvincing, the back laughable.

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