FRAUDSTERS flouting parking rules and misusing disabled badges have been told - if you break the law, we’ll punish you.
The city council’s transport boss Councillor Simon Bosher said the council was committed to catching wrong-doers and hauling them before the courts.
His comments came as the latest people caught illegally using disabled badges to avoid parking charges in the city faced magistrates.
Cllr Bosher said: ‘The improper use of a blue badge is a matter we take very seriously at the council.
‘The fines imposed on the two offenders today demonstrates our commitment to tackling this issue, and we will continue to carry out operations to catch others who are illegally using blue badges.’
His thoughts were echoed by Portsmouth magistrate Sue Waddle, who said the public was losing faith in the system as more crooks break rules surrounding the blue badge system.
Repeat offender Andrew Ogilvie, 50, and Karel Doubleday were both hit with hefty fines after each admitted unlawfully using blue badges.
Addressing Ogilvie, of Arundel Street, Landport, Mrs Waddle said: ‘What you have done today has made it much more difficult for the public to trust that system and that it is being used properly.’
Both the cases were separate incidents that took place in Portsmouth in February. Doubleday, of Jute Close, Portchester, was charged with unlawfully using a disabled badge and fraud.
The 56-year-old wept in the dock as Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard how she parked her car in Great Southsea Street, illegally using her mother’s disabled badge.
Prosecutor Tim Concannon said Doubleday was caught by a parking enforcement officer parking in the bay. She was issued a penalty charge notice, ordering her to pay £35, which she appealed. But in her appeal Doubleday lied to Portsmouth City Council, claiming her mother – who had Alzheimer’s and has since died – had placed the badge in the car.
‘Well unfortunately for her Portsmouth City Council has quite an efficient investigating team and when the vehicle was there and the officer reported in, the investigating team actually phoned her mother – who was at home and had no knowledge of the badge being used,’ Mr Concannon said.
Defending, Simon White said Doubleday had parked in the bay close to her work to make sure if her mother needed her in an emergency, she could rush to help.
Mr White added Doubleday had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and was ‘extremely remorseful’.
He told the court: ‘It was a very foolish decision and one which she has paid a very heavy price for.
‘She has lost her good character. It’s a stain on her integrity and that is something she is extremely upset with herself about.’
Mrs Waddle said it was wrong of her to misuse the badge, which stopped a real disabled person from using the space.
‘That’s compounded by the fact that you then tried to lie your way out of the fine when you could have just paid it,’ she told her.
‘It’s a serious offence using a disabled person’s badge in the wrong way because it stops the councils giving out these badges quite so freely to people who need them. It’s very difficult to get them and any abuse of the system means that other people find it doubly difficult.’
Ogilvie – who has learning difficulties – used his disabled 10-year-old son’s badge to illegally park in a pay-and-display space near his home on February 7.
The court heard this was the second time the 50-year-old had been reprimanded for misusing his son’s badge.
He pleaded guilty to the one offence and was fined £600.
Doubleday was fined a total of £900. Both also have to pay £396.22 in costs and a victim surcharge of £50.
Since January 2014, Portsmouth has prosecuted 52 people for 108 offences, with the council’s parking enforcement team having a perfect record on all charges.