FOUR police staff have been fined thousands of pounds over a ‘deplorable’ parking permit fraud.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard Selena Willis, Ann Todd, Lorraine Whyte and Marie Miller, who work in the criminal justice unit, struggled to park after being moved from Havant and losing their £1.50-a-day parking.
Willis, 36, of Beverston Road, Paulsgrove, bought the passes from Facebook friend Marianne Pyfrom, who offered them after Willis ranted one day about parking.
The court heard Willis sold them to Todd, Whyte and Miller at their work in Portsmouth central police station.
Pyfrom, 36, of Brougham Road, Southsea, was able to legitimately buy them at Somers Town post office as she lives in the LA Southsea north parking zone.
District Judge Anne Arnold said the women did not know they were committing crimes but called their actions ‘deplorable’.
Your actions, as well as being fraudulent, were in essence motivated to ensure that you had a convenient parking space regardless of the impactDistrict Judge Anne Arnold
She said: ‘Whilst your actions weren’t in the course of your employment, four of you, with the exception of you Marianne Pyfrom, are employed by Hampshire Constabulary.
‘Your actions are therefore all the more deplorable.’
She added: ‘Your actions, as well as being fraudulent, were in essence motivated to ensure that you had a convenient parking space regardless of the impact.’
She said many people suffer difficulty parking, adding: ‘It simply doesn’t entitle those people, as you’ve done, to abuse a permit system to the potential detriment of other people.’
All were prosecuted by Portsmouth City Council, which had been tipped off to their cars parked in Wellington Street, Grosvenor Road, and Radnor Street.
Willis, Miller, Todd and Whyte all work in the criminal justice unit at the station, which works on paperwork from police investigations that is then sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Hampshire police said it investigated the four and gave ‘management advice’.
In court Adrian Dodd, defending the women, said: ‘I understand they had been notified that their jobs were safe.’
He added: ‘I desperately don’t want to see them lose their jobs. They are hard-working people.
‘If they didn’t work in Portsmouth with a parking problem they wouldn’t darken the door of the court.’
He told Judge Arnold that parking was a nightmare and the women were not looking to make cash.
The four would look for car park spaces before using the permits. Mr Dodd added: ‘The only free car park in the area is up near Bradford Road which is a good five or 10 minutes’ walk away.’
Pyfrom bought 40 of the 95p-each 12-hour scratchcards to sell on at face value to Willis.
Willis pleaded guilty to two counts of making or supplying an article for use in fraud and possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud. She was fined £3,500 with a £150 victim surcharge.
Todd, 58, of Maytree Gardens, Waterlooville, admitted two charges of using a parking device with intent to deceive and was fined £400, with a £25 victim fee.
Whyte, 48, of Dexter Drive, Waterlooville, admitted six of the same charges and was fined £1,200, with a £20 victim surcharge.
Miller, 43, of, Milton Road, Waterlooville, admitted using a parking device with intent to deceive and possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud, relating to being found with a book of scratchcards. She was fined £950 with a victim surcharge of £75.
Pyfrom was fined £1,500 after admitting two charges of making or supplying an article for use in fraud.
The women must pay £137 costs each.
Friends were snared after city council investigation
ALL of the women fined for using parking permits said they did not know that what they were doing was wrong.
But each permit’s condition of use says only ‘bona fide’ visitors can use them. Prosecutor Jonathan Underhill said the council started patrols after a resident complained about cars.
He said: ‘After that, investigators spent some time observing which parking permits were used where.’
Investigators then went into Marianne Pyfrom’s home on February 6, 2014. He added: ‘Over the course of the next few days and weeks the investigating officers were able to speak to those persons using these parking permits.’
When stopped, they said Willis supplied the permits.