Shamed social worker used dead nan’s blue badge to park in Portsmouth

Clockwise from top left, Hayley North, Helene Birt, Hilary Ward and James Cowlishaw outside court
Clockwise from top left, Hayley North, Helene Birt, Hilary Ward and James Cowlishaw outside court
Benjamin Peace

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A SOCIAL worker repeatedly used her dead grandmother’s blue badge to avoid paying for parking in Portsmouth.

Hayley North was hit with hefty court bill of £451.32 for dodging day-long parking tickets that would have cost £12.

She was among the latest batch of fraudsters to be prosecuted by Portsmouth City Council for abusing the city’s blue badge scheme as part of an on-going crackdown. All had used parking passes allocated to people who are now dead

The 27-year-old Hounslow Borough Council worker, who is studying for a PhD in health and social care at the University of Portsmouth, illegally parked in Burnaby Road while attending a lecture.

But Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard she had repeatedly used the blue badge of her grandmother, Patricia McGarrick – who died in November 2016 – in Portsmouth and while working for Hounslow in London.

Prosecutor Jenny Ager said: ‘She said she was aware that she should have purchased a parking ticket and she had the means to pay for one but that she was in a rush and found her nan’s parking badge. She knew what she was doing was dishonest and was not appropriate and said she had never used the badge before.’

She said North lied to the council initially about the scale of her fraud but admitted to using the permit ‘numerous times’ in an interview.

North, of Harmondsworth, West Drayton, London, said: ‘I want to apologise. It was a ridiculously silly mistake to make.’

City transport boss Councillor Simon Bosher, said: ‘Blue badge misuse is unacceptable, and we will not tolerate it here.

‘The penalty for improper use is significant, and often the consequences of a conviction have a serious knock-on effect on the offenders’ lives and their families. People need to question whether saving money on parking in the short term is worth the risk.’

A spokeswoman for Hounslow council added: ‘We were disappointed to learn of Ms North’s conviction. We will be investigating this matter internally and take further action, if appropriate.’

Other people caught were:

n Helene Birt, landlady of the Auckland Arms, in Netley Road, Southsea, admitted two offences of using her dead friend, Percival Rogers’ badge, to park near her pub. She was fined a total of £427.10.

n James Cowlishaw, 65, of Bishop Street, Portsea, admited using his dead mother, Ada Cowlishaw’s, blue badge to dodge paying for parking in The Esplanade car park, Southsea. He was fined £408.72.

n Hilary Ward, 51, of Filton Avenue, Bristol, admitted using her dead husband David’s badge in a pay-and-display bay in Duisburg Way, Southsea. She was fined £403.32.