Disabled blue badge fraud costs Wakefield taxpayer thousands in just nine months

A crackdown on disabled parking fraud in the Wakefield district has caught out nine drivers in less than a year.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 3rd February 2020, 4:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 11:30 am

A report by the local council said the frauds, which were identified between April and December last year, cost the local taxpayer a combined total of more than £5,000.

More than half of the cases related to drivers in Castleford, after the council focused investigations in the town in June.

The crackdown comes amid a rise in blue badge theft nationally, which prompted the government to set up a task force to deal with the problem in 2018.

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Theft of blue badges by able-bodied drivers has risen across the UK.

The report, which will go before Wakefield Council's audit committee next week, said: "Throughout 2019 we have continued to support the National Blue Badge Initiative by undertaking a number of proactive initiatives in Castleford (June 2019) and Wakefield (October 2019).

"This work has been complemented by additional checks throughout the year following a referral or where we have a suspicion of misuse."

It added: "We will continue to undertake proactive initiatives to ensure that, wherever possible, blue badge misuse is deterred and/or actively pursued."

The criteria entitling drivers to a disabled parking permit was expanded last year to include so-called "hidden" disabilities, such as autism.

Council crackdowns in Castleford and Wakefield led to nine cases being identified between April and December.

Councils have been given more cash by the government to handle the extra number of applications for blue badges this is expected to generate.

Local Democracy Reporting Service