Portsmouth blue badge fraudster caught out

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MOTORIST Peter Williams was caught using his mother-in-law’s disabled parking badge after the council spied on him.

Fraud investigators began following Williams after an anonymous tip-off.

They soon found he was using the badge to save paying for parking when he went to work.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the 29-year-old was spotted parking his Audi in Lyon Terrace, Portsea, on five occasions when he was the only person using the car. The pipe fitter, who was working as a sub-contractor at HMS Nelson at the time, has been fined £500 and told to pay £515 in costs.

Michael Robinson, the Portsmouth City Council’s parking operations manager, said: ‘Blue badge abuse is high up on the council’s agenda to tackle.

‘It is unfair on the genuine disabled as well as the taxpayers of Portsmouth.

‘We have a zero-tolerance approach to it and will continue to root out the problem vigorously.

‘The penalty dished out to Mr Williams shows our and the court’s firm commitment to tackle the problem.’

Williams, formerly of Kendall Avenue, Copnor, but now using a care-of address of Paddington Road, Copnor, was found guilty of five counts of unlawful use of a disabled person’s badge in his absence by the magistrates.

He didn’t attend the trial in May but he was in court for his sentencing.

Hugh Pringle, defending, urged the court not to ban Williams from driving because his mother-in-law Pauline Early, who has suffered a series of strokes, still relies on him to take her to hospital appointments, despite the fact he and his wife have split up.

‘The only person that has access to the vehicle within the set-up is Mr Williams,’ he said. ‘His mother-in-law doesn’t have the physical capacity to manage public transport. He has been called upon and remains willing to be called upon to provide transport for that person.

‘He anticipates he will go on doing so.’

The offences all took place over two weeks in November.

Mr Pringle added: ‘The cost of parking in a public area in the city was prohibitive as far as he was concerned.

‘It saved him money in the short term. He saw it as a cheap way out.’

The magistrates agreed not to ban Williams from driving.