Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 16:27 UK

Blue badge permit misuse targeted in Gloucestershire

Twenty blue badges have been confiscated in Gloucestershire in a crackdown on fraudulent use.

Four people were given warnings and 13 people reported to police for misuse of the disabled parking badges in the operation in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Councillor Stan Waddington from Gloucestershire County Council said using a relative's badge or a stolen one was classed as fraud.

"It also prevents genuine users from finding a space to park," he said.

'Crackdown welcomed'

"The maximum fine if someone is convicted is £1,000 or even a custodial sentence if the badge is a fake or stolen," he said.

"Misusing it by allowing other people to use it could also result in the badge being taken away."

A spokeswoman for the Gloucestershire Disability Forum said she welcomed the operation.

"Disabled drivers feel that blue badge fraud impacts on them as it adversely affects the general public's view of blue badge holders as a whole," she said.

"They, quite rightly, question why an able-bodied person has a badge, not realising that the badge is a fake or being misused."

The blue badge scheme allows people with severe mobility problems to park in allocated spaces.

It is estimated 6,000 are stolen each year.

The operation was run as a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Council its parking contractor Apcoa Parking UK, and Cheltenham Borough Council.

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