Fourteen people across West Sussex have been successfully prosecuted in a countywide clampdown on Blue Badge parking fraud.
The Blue Badge scheme provides a range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems.
In the most recent case, enforcement officers in Mid Sussex observed a man using a badge that did not belong to him to park on single-yellow lines near his workplace.
The man was found guilty by a jury of using a Blue Badge with intent to deceive.
He now has a criminal record and has to pay fines and court costs totalling £7,500 (£1,500 in fines and £6,000 court costs).
Amanda Jupp, county council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Blue Badge misuse is not only fraud, but it can mean that genuine, vulnerable users are deprived of vital services because parking spaces are taken by fraudsters.
“This could include spaces near doctors’ surgeries, chemists or other community facilities.
“We won’t hesitate to take action against fraudsters who are depriving genuine Blue Badge holders of their ability to park.”
Since August 2017, county council officers have been working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council and colleagues at all seven local district and borough councils to clampdown on Blue Badge misuse.
Officers, working with Sussex Police, have also issued a number of official warnings, called Community Resolutions.
These are offered in some circumstances as a first-level way of dealing with offences without taking people to court.
They are formal warnings in which people agree to attend an information and education session where they learn about the consequences of their actions.
Since August, 2017:
• 14 cases have been sent for prosecution - all successful;
• A total of 100 people have completed a Community Resolution;
• 209 Disabled Blue Badges have been retained. Badges are returned to the badge holders after council officers have dealt with the misuse.
• 85 Disabled Blue Badges have been destroyed: examples of this are where a badge holder displays an expired or cancelled badge, or someone displaying a deceased person’s permit.
There are currently 35,000 Blue Badges on issue in West Sussex.
Blue Badges enable drivers and passengers with severe mobility problems to park close to the services they need to access.
Search for “Blue Badge scheme” at www.westsussex.gov.uk for more information.