A STUDENT fraudster who paid £20 for a stolen disabled Blue Badge before having his BMW impounded in Guildhall Walk was told to cough up £2,500 for his crime when he appeared in court.
Chima Asadu, a 21-year-old business management student at the University of Portsmouth, was caught using the badge that had been stolen from a car in London.
Asadu’s car was spotted in a marked pay and display parking bay in King Henry 1 Street on September 30, 2020, as he went to work at nearby Sainsbury’s in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard.
Investigations by Portsmouth City Council revealed the badge had been issued by London Borough of Haringey Council to a woman before her car window was smashed and the badge stolen on September 9, 2020.
‘The defendant dishonestly obtained this disabled badge and used it in his BMW in order to leave this vehicle parked in a marked pay and display parking bay,’ a city council statement read out to court said.
‘Given his failure to purchase a valid parking ticket despite being aware of the parking restrictions in the area, and his awareness that the badge was not his, clearly indicated that his intentions were deliberately dishonest.’
Checks by a council enforcement officer showed the badge was not valid for use and had been cancelled by the issuing authority following its reported theft.
A parking penalty charge notice was slapped on the defendant’s vehicle which was removed and impounded the same day.
After making contact with Asadu, the city council’s enforcement team were subjected to a host of fantasies as the defendant attempted to explain away his crime and secure his car back.
The defendant said he was worried about going to the council offices due to Covid-19 before claiming he was claustrophobic and had a fear of uniformed officers.
He told the officer he found the badge on the street in Portsmouth. ‘I know you wouldn’t believe me but this is the truth. I literally found it there,’ he said.
‘I would never, ever get involved in any sort of crime whatsoever.’
Asadu ended up coming clean on the badge after admitting he saw it on a Snapchat page.
‘He said he met an unknown male in a street in Croydon and paid him £20 for the badge. He bought the badge because he was bringing his car back to Portsmouth and knew he could use the badge to obtain free parking,’ the officer said.
The officer added: ‘The defendant gave further admissions to using the stolen badge in Portsmouth on multiple occasions and attempted to justify his use by saying: “Back in school I suffered from a rugby injury in my leg so I thought I’ve got an injury, like I struggle to walk for long distances”.’
Magistrates dished Asadu, of Oxford Road, Southsea, with a two-year conditional discharge and told him to pay £2,500 costs to the council after he admitted fraudulently using a stolen and invalid Blue Badge.
Felicity Tidbury, acting assistant director for transport for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It is disappointing that we need to continue tackling Blue Badge misuse by people that don’t need them.
‘We will continue to take action like this against anyone misusing a Blue Badge in Portsmouth.’