Warning after Shropshire man caught using bogus blue disability badge
Shropshire Council has issued a stark warning to people abused disabled parking rules after a man was handed a suspended sentence for making and using a false blue badge.
The authority prosecuted Christopher Thomas at Telford Magistrates Court, in a case brought under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Pensioner Thomas, of Weston Rhyn, near Oswestry, admitted three offences of making and using a false disabled person's blue badge.
The fake badge was seized in February 2018 by a Shropshire Council civil enforcement officer who had witnessed it on display in a vehicle belonging to Thomas, which was parked in a disabled bay in Oswestry.
During the investigation, Thomas told investigating officers that his wife passed away in 2004, following which he made a copy of a badge that had been legitimately issued to her before she died.
He informed officers that he had no plans to apply for a genuine blue badge for himself going forward.
The court considered the matter was so serious it imposed a sentence of 12 weeks imprisonment, which was suspended for two years, and made Thomas pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling over £1,500.
Joyce Barrow, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for communities, waste and regulatory services, warned people to abide by the rules.
She said: "Since its introduction in 1971, the Disabled Persons Parking Scheme has made a valuable contribution to the mobility of many disabled people.
"Shropshire Council’s provision of on-street parking concessions for blue badge holders is intended to assist independent mobility by allowing disabled persons to park closer to their destination.
"Without legal action being taken against offenders, not only will a scheme that was designed to help disadvantaged members of society fall into disarray, but members of the public who abide by parking restrictions will become disillusioned with imposed parking controls that are abused.”