September 23 2014 Latest news:
by Sam Blewett, Reporter
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Blue badge fraudsters were targeted in a joint operation by the council and the police last week.
The team visited Romford Market, in Market Place, Romford, to catch out drivers displaying the permits meant for people with disabilities.
During one day they caught seven people displaying them illegally. Six were using the badges when the owner was not present and another person’s had expired.
Council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey said the initiative was helping uphold disabled people’s rights.
He said: “The whole point of the blue badge scheme is to help those with disabilities. People who misuse the badge are taking a space that a person with a genuine disability needs and we take this very seriously.
“We cannot have people using these badges if they are not disabled and those who are disabled should not let others use their badge illegally.”
A 70-year-old Romford resident agreed that the scheme was a good idea after his permit was validated by an officer.
Frank Twigg said: “I think this is a really good idea, a lot of people misuse them and take up the spaces. It means that I can get a parking space which is very handy.”
Residents are warned that misusing a blue badge is a serious offence and they can be withdrawn if the permits are misused by the owner or by others.
It is a criminal offence for non-disabled people to use the badges and they can face a fine of up to £1,000 if they do so.
Residents can apply for a blue badge or report a lost or stolen blue badge on the website havering.gov.uk.