Call for crackdown on Blue Badge fraudBooming black market in forged parking permits

02 April 2007

 

Car parking sign

            

Council leaders called today for state-of-the-art solutions to combat a booming black market in disabled parking badges - including the sale of forgeries on e-Bay.

They warned that illegal permits are changing hands for up to £1,500, amid widespread abuse of the system.

Criminals are even resorting to 'smash and grab' raids on vehicles to get the badges, according to the Local Government Association.

It called for holograms on the badges to make forgeries harder and for a national database of legal holders.

Blue Badge fraud

Councils across the country are poised for a major crackdown after a survey by the LGA revealed that four in ten councils rate Blue Badge fraud as a 'serious' or 'very serious' concern.

In London - where up to 50 per cent of disabled badges in circulation are thought to be illegal - this rose to nine out of ten.

Islington Council estimates that about 400 extra badges appear around the Emirates Stadium when Arsenal play at home.

Badges have a registration number and photo on the back that cannot be seen when displayed in windscreens - meaning they can be easily photocopied, forged and transferred between cars.

Congestion charge

The LGA is urging councils to make more use of new powers giving parking attendants, traffic wardens and the police the power to inspect Blue Badges and fine people up to £1,000 for illegal use.

Councillor David Sparks, Chairman of the LGA transport board, said: 'Introducing holograms on the badges would make forgeries easier to spot.

'Equally, a national database could let councils share information and keep track of who is legally entitled to use the badges and who is breaking the law.'

More than two million Blue Badges have been issued in England. They allow free parking in pay and display bays and parking for three hours on yellow lines. In London, holders are exempt from the congestion charge.

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