Pirton social worker fined for fraudulently using Blue Badge

The Blue Badge system is designed to help disabled drivers

The Blue Badge system is designed to help disabled drivers - Credit: Archant

A woman from a village near Hitchin who fraudulently used a Blue Badge to park in a disabled bay has been sentenced in court.

Martine Edwards, of Davis Street, Pirton, admitted Blue Badge fraud at Luton Magistrates’ Court last week.

A Luton Borough Council officer spotted Edwards using the permit in Luton’s Crawley Road car park on November 8 last year, without the badge holder present in the vehicle.

The Blue Badge permit was in the name of another woman, and the badge is only to be used by her or in a vehicle in which she is being transported – an offence under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons’ Act 1970.

When interviewed, Edwards said she believed it was OK to use the badge if she was supporting a disabled person – but then accepted that was not appropriate to take up a disabled space or to misuse a Blue Badge permit.

She confirmed that she was not eligible to use a Blue Badge permit on her own.

Edwards was fined £183, and ordered to pay £200 towards the prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

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She was given credit for her previous good character and guilty plea at the first opportunity.

Councillor Richard Wenham, Central Bedfordshire Council’s deputy leader and executive member for corporate resources, said: “While some may see the overall cost of £413 as a relatively small price to pay for her offence, the real impact on Martine Edwards is she now has a criminal conviction to her name.

“That may affect her current job as a social worker, and could also affect future employment opportunities.

“Fraudulently using a Blue Badge could not only land you in court, as this case proves, but is incredibly selfish as it takes away a parking space that disabled people may need to use.”

The court case follows hot on the heels of a day of action against Blue Badge fraud across Central Bedfordshire.

For more information about Blue Badges, holders’ responsibilities and where they allow you to park, see centralbefordshire.gov.uk/bluebadge.