47 year old from Earlsfield must now wear ankle tag
An Earlsfield woman has been issued with a three month curfew order and must wear an ankle tag after being caught fraudulently using a blue badge that her family had reported lost.
Rukhsana Waheed was using her mother’s disabled parking permit to go on shopping trips even though she was perfectly healthy and had no difficulty walking.
Investigators first spotted the blue badge being misused when it was placed in the windscreen of the 47-year-old’s car while parked outside her home in Cargill Road. They also saw her using it on shopping trips around the borough.
The permit had originally been issued to Mrs Waheed’s mother, who suffers from mobility problems. The rules state that the badge could only be used when her mother was a passenger in the car. On all the occasions Mrs Waheed was seen using the permit she was on her own.
As the investigation unfolded it emerged that the permit had previously been reported lost. A replacement badge was then issued to her mother, but this too was also subsequently reported as having being lost and a second replacement was issued.
Whilst being questioned Mrs Waheed said that her sisters shared responsibility for looking after their mother. The council is now carrying out an investigation to find out what happened to the other missing blue badge to ensure it is not being similarly misused.
In court she told magistrates that she thought the badge could legitimately be used by her if she was picking up shopping for her mother.
She admitted an offence under the Fraud Act 2006, namely having in her possession an item for use in a fraud. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of misusing a blue badge.
Sentencing her to a three month curfew last from 8pm to 6am and ordering her to wear a tag, the district judge said the case amounted to “serious and unlawful use to avoid parking fees” and that this kind of case “risked undermining the blue badge system as a whole”.
In addition to the curfew, she fined Mrs Waheed £500, ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and the council’s prosecution costs of £582.
The council’s transport spokesman Cllr Russell King said: “Most abuses of the blue badge system involve a family member taking a relative’s permit for their own use, even if this means leaving an elderly or disabled loved one stuck indoors all day.
“This was a slightly more unusual and some might say shameless fraud in that the badge was reported lost or stolen. We will now be making attempts to try and trace the second replacement to ensure it is not being misused in the same way.
"Anyone tempted by blue badge fraud should remember that we receive a steady stream of tip-offs from colleagues, neighbours, friends and sometimes even their own relatives. There is deep-felt outrage throughout society that fit and able-bodied motorists are willing to abuse a scheme that is there solely to help disabled people.
"Anyone we catch abusing the scheme can rest assured they will go to court, probably get a big fine and a criminal record and will no doubt have to endure the shame and humiliation of having committed such an abhorrent anti-social crime.”
Anyone with information about blue badge misuse can contact the council's team of investigators by calling freephone number 0800 085 0866 or emailing email@example.com.
October 19, 2011