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Clampdown on blue badges in Ipswich leads to fines and confiscations

PUBLISHED: 16:02 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 15 November 2017

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Five people have been fined and others lost their disabled parking permits after a clampdown on Blue Badge abuse in Ipswich.

They were spotted using badges incorrectly in Ipswich town centre during an enforcement day arranged by the borough council and Suffolk County Council.

Parking enforcement officers and corporate fraud investigators were used to crack down on incorrect and fraudulent use of the disability scheme.

A spokesman for Ipswich council said: “We will not tolerate abuse of the blue badge scheme. If you are using one illegally, we will catch you.”

In total, 156 badges were checked; with one in-date badge and one invalid badge seized as well as an expired badge handed in. Five Penalty Charge Notices were issued for related offences – including badge holders parking in areas with a loading restriction and badges not being displayed with a time clock in areas with time restrictions.

Regular enforcement days will take place to ensure the continued appropriate use of Blue Badges across Suffolk. It is a criminal offence for a badge holder or anyone else to misuse a badge, and doing so could lead to a £1,000 fine and confiscation of the badge.

Philip Smart, Parking Services and the Environment portfolio-holder at the Borough, said: “We were pleased to take part with our colleagues at the County Council to ensure that only people who need blue badges are given them.

“This was a successful crackdown and is evidence that we will not tolerate fraud.”

Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Adult Care, said: “The majority of blue badge holders in Suffolk use them responsibly and in accordance with the rules; however this operation has shown there are still examples of blue badges still being used for the convenience of people who are not entitled to them, which simply is not on.”

The councils launched their clampdown against “blue badge fraud” as the Christmas shopping season is about to get into full swing and car parks in towns across the region are expected to fill up.

They are trying to get out the message that anyone tempted to wrongly use a blue badge in a bid to cut the cost of parking or to find a space that they are otherwise not entitled to use can expect to be caught and face a fine and the likely loss of the badge.

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