Lawyer admits fraud for changing parking pass with felt tip pen
A LAWYER has appeared in court after tampering with a parking permit with a felt-tip pen.
Steven Barker was caught using an expired car park season ticket at the Esplanade car park in Southsea.
The 25-year-old was parking there to get the ferry to his then job at Liz Earle Beauty on the Isle of Wight.
Now he has admitted a string of crimes – fraud by false representation, adapting an article for use in fraud and four counts of obtaining services dishonestly.
The four relate to October 7 and 15, and November 3 and 4 last year, when he parked.
Barker’s deception was uncovered when an enforcement officer issued him a ticket after seeing the badge.
Parking investigator Stephen Goodall launched a probe after several penalties had been handed to Barker.
Prosecutor Jenni Ager said: ‘Mr Barker altered it in an attempt to conceal the expiry and changed it to show that the date of expiry was July 13, 2016.’
In reality the car park ticket expired in 2015.
The court heard Barker claimed he had only written on the permit because a water bottle had leaked on it in his bag on the day he bought it.
Ms Ager said Barker also told Portsmouth City Council he had ‘no reason’ to remove the pass and had intended to pay for parking on the automated RingGo system but sometimes forgot as it was a ‘low priority’.
Barker, of Winters Road, Shirrell Heath, told investigators he only bought a month-long pass as he feared his job was not secure.
Now an in-house lawyer at the insurer Ageas in Eastleigh, he faces losing his job, Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday.
Angie Parkins, for Barker, said: ‘There really has been a big price to pay in respect of this matter for Mr Barker.’
The fraud offence relates to an appeal he submitted against a penalty for using the altered badge.
Sending the case to Portsmouth Crown Court, magistrate Alan Key said: ‘The feeling of the bench is that the offences are beyond our remit for sentencing and this should go to the crown court for sentencing.’