Dishonest Estate Agent Blue Badge Fraud

Using disabled wife's 'lost' parking badge

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A local estate agent was caught using his wife’s disabled parking permit after she’d reported it as lost and ordered a replacement.

Fit and able-bodied Atique Ul-Rehman was using his wife's 'blue badge' to park outside the Residenza Properties estate agency in Tooting Bec Road which is owned by his son.

She had previously reported the badge as lost and had been sent a replacement by Merton Council which she was using in her own vehicle.

Mr Ul-Rehman was spotted on numerous occasions driving a company liveried car from his home in Stane Close, South Wimbledon, to his son's office. He was parking free of charge all day in Wheatlands Road apart from when he ferried potential buyers and tenants to view properties all over Tooting and Balham.

When he was caught he initially denied any wrongdoing and entered pleas of not guilty to all charges at an earlier hearing. However on the day the case was finally listed for trial he changed his plea to guilty at the last minute and admitted eight counts of fraud.

After entering his pleas, he told the court that he could not pay a large fine because he only earned a meagre £48 a week in wages..

In response, Wimbledon magistrates told the 48-year-old he was lucky to avoid an immediate jail sentence and instead ordered him to complete 220 hours of community service.

This means he will have to work unpaid for the equivalent of more than 27 working days picking up litter, painting over graffiti, tidying open spaces and completing other tasks on behalf of the wider community. He was also ordered to pay £250 towards the council's prosecution costs.

Several other local residents were also found guilty of blue badge fraud concurrently.

Jagter Singh, 43, who gave the court an address in Ilford in east London, but is actually thought to be living with a partner in Southfields, was caught illegally using his disabled mother's permit to park in the designated disabled parking bays outside Putney Library and then jumping on the train at Putney station to commute to work.

He admitted five counts of blue badge misuse and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £612 costs.

Branjish Patel of Bolingbroke Grove, Battersea, was given an 18 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £444 in court costs after he was caught twice using his mother's disabled badge to park in Burstock Road in Putney while on his way to work at the nearby branch of Halfords.
 
Student Oluwabukola Olaribigbe of Stockwell Gardens, Brixton, was also given an 18 month conditional discharge and told to pay £556 in costs after being caught using her mother's badge on seven occasions to park in Malva Close, Wandsworth, while attending classes at South Thames College.

And fellow South Thames student Leonteas Smith was caught five times using her great-aunt's badge to drive to the college from her home in Astonville Street in Southfields. She was also given an 18 month conditional discharge and told to pay court costs of £486.

Since the council's fraud team began to actively investigate misuse of the scheme, nearly 500 dishonest drivers have been brought before the courts and convicted of almost 2,000 separate offences.

Those prosecuted have included lawyers, builders, estate agents, civil servants, hospital staff, dentists, a bank manger and even the owner of a care home for the elderly. The offences have included theft, forgery, fraud and handling stolen goods. 

Anyone with information about blue badge misuse can contact the council's team of investigators by calling freephone number 0800 085 0866 or emailing parking@wandsworth.gov.uk

 
July 8, 2013