Crackdown on these parking cheats is long overdue

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Nobody likes paying to park their car. Nobody wants to. But we all have to. It’s the price we have to pay for modern living.

Everyone knows somebody who will find a space which costs nothing a long way from their destination, simply to avoid pouring money into a machine.

Good for them. If that’s the way they wish to live, fair enough.

But, as we report today, there are pariahs out there who regularly cheat the system and have been doing so for years.

Now it would appear their luck has run out.

We should all give three cheers for Portsmouth City Council’s long-overdue campaign to bring these cheats to book.

We are not just talking about those who have refused to pay their parking fines, but drivers who fraudulently display badges for disabled drivers to enable them to park free.

Now the city’s traffic wardens are out to get them, seize their vehicles and charge them at least £155 to get them back.

The figures are shocking. In a crackdown lasting only two days, two of the owners of the five seized cars owed more than £3,600 in unpaid parking tickets in the city.

Then there were those who borrowed a disabled person’s windscreen badge to go shopping.

How refreshing it is to hear a council officer speak plainly for once, when parking manager Michael Robinson says: ‘If people choose to be too tight or too lazy to pay for their parking, then every power we have at our disposal will come down on their heads, including towing away their car.

‘In Portsmouth, blue badge fraud is 100 per cent unacceptable and we will find offenders – if not today, then maybe tomorrow.’

Not only are these people breaking the law, they are cheating the city council out of cash which it could use to great effect elsewhere in these time of massive cuts.

We support the authority’s clampdown and hope the two-day campaign becomes a permanent crusade.

At that point the message might just sink in: if you can afford to run a car then you can afford to pay to park it.