Blue badge fraudster pays the price

A Southall man has been ordered to pay nearly £1,500 after being caught red-handed fraudulently using a stolen blue badge.
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Manmeet Kapoor of Victory Mews, Southall, appeared at Ealing Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 7 November. In May, a courtesy car used by Mr Kapoor was spotted by council officers parked in a restricted bay in Southall. His car was displaying a blue badge that did not belong to him and had been reported as stolen in January 2012.

An eagle-eyed parking officer had previously noticed the badge being used suspiciously in a different car in Southall. Enquiries with Brent Council confirmed that the badge was stolen and at a later date parking services arranged to have the car towed.

When first confronted, Mr Kapoor lied and said that the car was hired and that he found the badge was inside. However, when later interviewed under caution by the council’s audit and investigation officers he admitted that he had bought the stolen badge for £5.

The badge, issued by Brent Council, had been stolen from a parked car. The thief had broken the lock of the vehicle in order to steal it.

In court, Mr Kapoor pleaded guilty to a breach of section 117 of the Road Traffic Act 1984, misuse of a blue badge by a third party. He was fined £500 and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £50, plus the council’s costs of £943.30. This brought the total amount payable to £1,493.20.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and customer services, said: “I am always pleased to see dishonest people like Mr Kapoor punished. The genuine owner of that blue badge not only had to go through the trouble of applying for a replacement badge, they also had to deal with the expense and trouble of repairing their damaged car.

“In my opinion, Mr Kapoor is just as bad as the thief that originally stole the badge and I don’t feel sorry for him at all. My sympathies lie with the people that are issued with these badges in the first place who suffer from real mobility problems, but find their parking spaces clogged up by selfish drivers who want to cheat the system.”

Ealing Council residents that have been allocated disabled parking bays outside their homes can apply for a disabled parking permit. These permits remove the need to display blue badges in cars parked in residential disabled bays overnight and are designed to cut down on blue badge theft.

Permits are only available to residents who have already been allocated a disabled parking bay and cost £30 a year. To apply, or find out more, go to our parking section. If you suspect someone of using a blue badge fraudulently, or to report a blue badge as being lost or stolen, call 020 8825 8161.