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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Evening Mail probe turns spotlight on issue of disabled badge abuse in Cumbria

MOTORISTS who abuse disabled badges could have been getting away with fraudulent activity for years, an Evening Mail investigation has revealed.

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sceptical Disabled badge-holder, Robert Wright says the blue badge system for disabled drivers is being abused, and questions why there have been no prosecutions or cautions over the last five years CHRIS WEST REF: 50039162B000

Previously unpublished figures show that in the last five years, there have been no prosecutions or cautions to anyone for misusing a blue badge in Cumbria.

There are 30,073 disabled badges in use across the county, with a large number – 5,112 – registered in the borough of Barrow alone.

Ulverston has 1,203 badge-holders while Millom has 602, Kendal has 1,504 and Carlisle has 4,210.

Osteoarthritis sufferer Robert Wright, who has held a blue badge for around 14 years, says he has witnessed badges being used inappropriately.

The 64-year-old, of Empress Drive, Walney, said: “I’ve seen lots of people display their badges and then jump out of their cars and run off down the road.

“I know not everyone who’s disabled is unable to walk but I’m sure there are quite a few people who use their parent’s or grandparent’s badge for their own benefit, and that’s totally wrong.

“I, like other disabled people, stick to the rules, but there are people out there who don’t and I can’t accept that in five years there hasn’t been misuse.”

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council, which operates the scheme, said 53 allegations of blue badge misuse had been reported since July 2012, including reports from traffic wardens.

The spokesman said: “All 53 reports have been followed up with an investigation and, where appropriate, a warning letter. It has not been considered necessary to take it any further than a warning letter in any cases as this appears to work as a deterrent.”

While the county council is responsible for operating the scheme, borough councils police the use of badges.

The county council spokesman added: “We are working with the district councils who currently enforce restrictions on our behalf to ensure these new powers are being used effectively on our streets.

“One upshot of this could be an increase in the number of prosecutions in the future.”

Have your say

Now the NW Evening Mail's Probe has turned the spotlight on the fact there is still discrimination from the public ? How about following this up with a probe about the way Barrow Council discriminate against the disabled by having there Officers Persecute Blue Badge holders & the Staff of Charities by laying in wait & punishing the unsuspecting & often accidental car parking public, I have requested your help for the vulnerable so many times it so obvious No one cares any more ? Discrimination is now rampant in the name of Making funds for this council!

Posted by Wally! on 3 August 2014 at 03:06

Obviously a lot of people who moan about the blue badge holders with no amputee or wheelchair disability have never suffered a chronic disease. Maybe one day they or some member of their family will and then think twice before saying anything. So many people are ignorant

Posted by Parent of someone with a child with a not seen disability on 2 August 2014 at 10:04

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