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Blue Badge Fraudster Banged Up

A man found guilty of using a stolen blue badge to use a restricted parking bay in Walthamstow has been sentenced to 28 days in prison.

Khurram Butt, 31, formerly of Cecil Road, Walthamstow, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday 26 August, after being found guilty of making a false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment said: “It is a quite frankly despicable act to take advantage of people with disabilities in this way, and I am glad that the court came down on this individual with a custodial sentence.

“People who use stolen, fake or lost blue badges are essentially stealing the much needed parking spaces that allow disabled people to park close to local shops and services. It is needless to say that we will seek prosecution against anyone we catch abusing the blue badge system in Waltham Forest.”

After receiving a number of complaints from residents the Council instructed its specialist Blue Badge counter fraud team to carry out patrols in the Erskine Road area of Walthamstow, accompanied by Special Police Constables from Waltham Forest Metropolitan Police. On 28 May 2014 officers noticed a vehicle with a Blue Badge parked on Gillards Way, and were able to confirm that the Blue Badge being used was stolen. Officers attempted to track down the driver but were unable to do so, so the vehicle was removed and impounded. Mr Butt attended the pound to retrieve the car later that day.

It was later established that Mr Butt was working at Walthamstow Market at the time. During the trial it transpired that Mr Butt, originally from Pakistan, had overstayed in the UK on a student visa. His current status is now being reviewed by the Home Office.

In the past year the Council’s specialist Blue Badge counter fraud team has seized 168 blue badges that were being misused. During that time 13 people have been successfully prosecuted by the Council for misusing a blue badge. There are a number of other ongoing cases where court action is pending.

Recent figures released by the Local Government Association show that the Blue Badge thefts in England have trebled in the last three years. There were 2,056 cases of theft recorded in 2015 nationally compared with 1,756 in 2014 and 656 in 2013.

Blue badges are issued to residents who are disabled, have severe mobility problems and have difficulty using public transport, allowing them to park close to their destination and travel independently. It is a criminal offence to use someone else’s blue badge, or drive a vehicle displaying a blue badge unless the badge holder is a passenger in the vehicle.

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