Castleford drivers may face fines in disabled badge fraud crackdown

An inspection by street wardens on market day in Castleford found some drivers were using blue badges illegally.
An inspection by street wardens on market day in Castleford found some drivers were using blue badges illegally.

Five motorists may face prosecution after a council crackdown on blue badge fraud.

The drivers are all set to be interviewed by Wakefield Council officials, who say they are stepping up their approach to the misuse of disabled parking bays.

Aire Street car park in Castleford.

Aire Street car park in Castleford.

The motorists were all identified after an inspection of vehicles in the centre of Castleford recently.

It comes as the government said it was setting up a taskforce to deal with the problem, amid a sharp rise in thefts of blue badges across the country in 2018.

The criteria for people eligible for a blue badge will also be expanded to include "hidden" conditions such as autism and dementia.

Speaking at an audit committee meeting on Monday, Wakefield Council's risk manager, Bradley Frost, said that blue badge fraud did not cost the council a huge amount of cash.

People with autism and dementia will now be eligible for a blue badge.

People with autism and dementia will now be eligible for a blue badge.

However, he added that the issue was an important one, and acknowledged that it was a bugbear for law-abiding people.

He told councillors: "We went along with street wardens on Castleford Market day.

"We were interested in how many blue badges there were in the vicinity.

"We checked in excess of 100 badges, and of those we checked there were five where we're looking to potentially prosecute.

"We've given them notice that they have to come in for a formal interview.

"It's not a big ticket item in terms of the financial ramifications for the council, but you know what? It's sending a message out that we won't tolerate blue badge misuse."

The government announced its changes to policy, which include £1.7m worth of funding for councils to help them cope with more applications for blue badges, over the weekend.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "As a society, we don’t do enough for people with hidden disabilities.

"I hope this change to blue badge guidance will make a real difference to people’s lives."

Misuse of a blue badge can be punished with a fine of up to £1,000.

Local Democracy Reporting Service