They all pleaded guilty to using Blue Badges to park close to Sutton Town Centre without the named Badge Holder present. Blue Badges are issued for the sole use of a named individual and are only valid when it is being used by, or for, the disabled person when that person is present. It is stated clearly on the Badge that misuse may constitute a criminal offence. They all pleaded guilty in Court.
Mr Thambyappah Bahirathan, aged 62, of Darley Gardens, Morden, had parked his Honda in a mandatory disabled bay in Lodge Place, Sutton, on Monday, 16 May and displayed a Badge to go shopping in Marks & Spencer. The Badge belonged to his wife who was at home at the time. He was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and costs of £100.
Miss Nicola Rowles, aged 39, of Middlesex Road, Mitcham, had parked her Ford Focus in a mandatory disabled bay in Lodge Place, Sutton, on Tuesday, 26 April using a Badge that belonged to her grandmother. Rowles told the Court her grandmother had been unwell recently and was keen for the Badge to be reinstated. In response, the Bench commented: “Disabled Badges cannot be abused. Hopefully, it’s been a lesson today. It’s always the disabled Badge Holder that suffers in these circumstances.” Rowles was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £100 costs.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee
at Sutton Council, said: “While it may be tempting to use the Blue Badges of other people to want to park when they are not with them, people must not do so. Blue Badges must be used only by the people named on them and no-one else.
“Blue Badges are issued to help disabled people have convenient access to busy town centres. We have only a limited number of disabled parking bays in Sutton and it is important that they are reserved for people who are genuinely disabled.”
Police and Sutton Council Parking Services’ officers carry out regular joint patrols to stop misuse of the borough’s 500 disabled parking bays which are for residents who have permanent or severe mobility difficulties and want to park conveniently for the shops.
They use the borough's CCTV system is used to gather evidence and, since April, Civil Enforcement officers have been able to capture incidents on their new body-worn cameras, which are designed to film images and sound when dealing with drivers – with the footage being used as evidence in Court.
The vast majority of Sutton’s 7,144 Blue Badge Holders use the Badges as they are intended. However, a small minority of drivers deliberately misuse the Blue Badge privilege.