Crackdown on illegal use of blue badges

A crackdown on drivers who misuse disabled blue parking badges is set to be launched across the county.

On Monday (February 23) East Sussex County Council will discuss plans which will see two blue badge fraud investigation officers working with police officers to tackle the problem across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

Operation Bluebird will see the county council will join forces with Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove Council to help free up spaces for disabled drivers.

The scheme will be paid for by a £183,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A county council spokesman said: “Two blue badge fraud investigation officers will be employed and will operate across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove to improve detection and share intelligence.

“They will work closely with civil enforcement officers to identify hotspots for misuse.

“Those caught misusing blue badges will be offered the option of attending a training session on the effects of depriving disabled people of parking spaces, together with a financial penalty, instead of receiving a criminal record.

“Blue badge misuse refers generally to the use of blue badge by a person that is not entitled to use it – there are a number of ways this happens – the badge could be fake, the person using the badge is not the holder, or the badge belongs to someone who has died but is still being used.”

The Audit Commission estimates that 20 per cent of blue badges are misused, costing the taxpayer up to £5,000.

There are currently 24,000 blue badges issued in East Sussex and a further 13,000 blue badges in Brighton and Hove.