Crackdown on Marylebone blue badge fraud

Fraudsters illegally using disabled parking badges in Marylebone are facing a crackdown after Westminster Council officers and the police launched a campaign to catch offenders.

Members of the council’s fraud squad teamed up with Bryanston and Dorset Square safer neighbourhoods officers to hit the streets last Friday to tackle the growing trend in “blue badge fraud”.

The team found one disabled badge being used fraudulently on the day as well as a number of cases to follow up for possible prosecution.

Officers say there have been a number of cases reported recently around the Crawford Street, Seymour Place and York Street area with residents complaining of their vehicles being broken into and disabled badges stolen.

Bryanston and Dorset Square sergeant Chris Wilson said: “There had been reports of drivers intimidating local residents so it had moved from a simple nuisance to something that was having an effect on local people.

“The operation was to catch as many offenders as possible and to deter any future offending with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life for residents.”

Disabled people in Westminster have two types of parking badge available to them – blue badges which allow people to park in certain bays and Westminster’s own white badges which permit parking in the majority of bays across the borough.

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If charged with an offence, fraudsters can be fined up to �1,000 and will have a criminal record.

Westminster fraud investigations manager Steve Barry says the council’s white disabled badges could be worth as much as �40,000.

“You can save a huge amount of money by having one of the badges,” he said.

“Using it fraudulently is wrong on two levels because it has an effect on disabled people and it means the people using the badges are avoiding paying parking fees.”

To report suspected disabled parking badge fraud call the council’s fraud hotline on 0800 028 9888.