Work to crackdown on disabled parking badge fraud saw council counter fraud officers carry out more than 160 investigations last year.
Officers from Barnet Council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) launched a total of 165 investigations after receiving intelligence and carrying out spot checks across the borough on cars parked while displaying a Blue Badge.
Blue Badges can only be used by the named badge holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the holder from the place where the vehicle is parked. It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use a Blue Badge in any other circumstances.
In 2016 the team seized 65 badges from drivers after they were caught misusing a Blue Badge to park for free in controlled parking zones, disabled bays or on yellow lines.
On many occasions motorists were found to be using a permit without the badge holder being present, using the badge of a deceased person or using a forged or counterfeit Blue Badge.
The investigations resulted in 21 drivers being brought before Magistrates and prosecuted for unlawful use of the badges, with a further 17 drivers being issued with a formal caution.
A recent operation in November involving CAFT investigators, NSL parking officers, and police, led to the seizure of four Blue Badges from motorists parked in the High Barnet area.
One badge was found to have been cancelled while the other three were being used without the badge holder being present.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “A great deal of work goes into stopping drivers intent on abusing a system of permits which is intended to help people who need them.
“Blue Badges are given to residents who are in genuine need, and we will take a firm line on anyone who exploits the system for personal gain. This is demonstrated by the number of investigations carried out by our counter fraud team over the course of last year.”
To report a fraud, call the fraud hotline on 020 8359 2007 or report it online.