An Ashford woman who displayed a Blue Badge issued to her late husband has appeared in court.
The woman aged 69 from the town admitted the offence of fraud by false representation and possession of articles in the use of fraud at Folkestone Magistrates Court on Monday 17 May.
On 16 September 2019, she parked at the Civic Centre, Ashford, in a Disabled Parking bay and displayed her deceased husband’s Blue Badge. A Civil Enforcement Officer saw her return to the vehicle and asked to see the Badge. The Civil Enforcement Officer was told by the woman that her husband was in an appointment in the council building and she was waiting for him to come out.
On checking the Blue Badge, the Civil Enforcement Officer discovered it had been cancelled. When asked about the cancelled badge, she told the Civil Enforcement Officer the badge should not have been cancelled and she would have “used it and used it”. The badge was retained and sent by Ashford Borough Council to KCC’s Counter Fraud Team.
Enquiries showed that her husband had died in May 2018 and she had registered the death.
The woman was sentenced to 60 hours community punishment order and was required to pay investigation and prosecution costs of £400.
Clair Bell, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Our partnership working with district councils is highly effective in stopping Blue Badge abuse.
“Not only does this abuse cause a financial loss to district councils and therefore the taxpayer, but there is also significant reputational damage to the Blue Badge scheme – a scheme in place to help and support disabled people.”
Cllr Peter Feacey, Ashford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing said: “When out on patrol, our CEOs proactively inspect any badge displayed in vehicles to ensure any misuse can be reported.
“On this occasion we were able to successfully retain the badge for KCC to take further action.
“Blue Badges are issued to those who need them and we will continue to work to ensure that they are not abused.”
Members of the public who become aware of someone using a deceased person’s Blue Badge can report it online on Kent County Council’s Blue Badge Misuse reporting form here.