A County Durham woman who falsely claimed her grandson was visiting a doctor while using his Blue Badge to park in a disabled space has been left nearly £1,000 worse off.
Sandra Anderson from Chester-le-Street has been ordered to pay a fine and associated costs by a court and left with a criminal conviction having been successfully prosecuted by us.
Anderson, 57, of Pelaw Square, Pelaw, failed to attend Peterlee Magistrates Court to answer a charge brought by us of Blue Badge misuse.
Our solicitor outlined how in October last year one of our corporate fraud investigators was carrying out Blue Badge enforcement checks in Chester le Street, when he saw a vehicle displaying such a badge parked in a space for the disabled.
The driver was spoken to and identified herself as Anderson. She stated that the Blue Badge was held by her grandson and that she had had dropped him and his mother off at a doctors’ surgery. Anderson said she had been unable to find a parking space there so had left the vehicle in the disabled space with the badge on show.
The defendant rang the mother and asked her to attend. Magistrates were told that the mother and grandson arrived a few minutes later and that the former was asked for proof that they had been at the doctors’.
The court heard this was not provided and they got in the car and left.
Contact was made with the surgery which revealed the grandson had not had an appointment, with this confirmed by checks of its CCTV footage.
Anderson and the mother were interviewed under caution and the mother admitted she had only come to Chester-le-Street when the defendant phoned her.
Anderson was fined £440, ordered to pay costs of £489 and a victim surcharge of £44, a total of £973.
Stephen Carter, our interim chief internal auditor and corporate fraud manager, said: “Blue Badges exist to allow people with a disability to access designated parking spaces which we provide close to amenities and services.“In this case Mrs Anderson has used her grandson’s Blue Badge to park in a disabled space while he was not with her – falsely claiming she had done so after dropping him off at the doctors’. “Her actions had the potential to prevent a Blue Badge holder accessing a disabled space and being able to visit amenities and services. “We hope the severe financial penalty and criminal conviction she now finds herself with will serve as a warning to anyone tempted to abuse a Blue Badge.”