Cars towed away during crackdown on illegal parking

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BREAK the law and you will lose your car – that is the stark warning from parking bosses following a city-wide clampdown.

Portsmouth City Council seized cars misusing disabled parking badges and owing thousands of pounds in fines as part of a two-day operation.

ON THE MOVE Illegally-parked cars were towed away.

ON THE MOVE Illegally-parked cars were towed away.

Drivers who had their vehicles towed to a recovery yard in Boarhunt were ordered to pay a £155 fine – with the figure rising depending on how long the cars are kept in storage.

Michael Robinson, the council’s parking manager, said such drastic action was taken to ensure motorists think twice about bending the rules.

It is illegal to display a disabled badge that isn’t yours or to use a counterfeit one to avoid paying parking charges.

‘We have to uphold the integrity of the blue badge scheme,’ Mr Robinson said.

‘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.’

Of the five cars seized, a red Nissan Micra in Cardiff Road, North End, had 30 outstanding parking tickets totalling £1,820, and a red Ford Focus in Slindon Street, Landport, was displaying a blue badge not belonging to the owner.

A silver Vauxhall Zafira in Nobbs Lane, Old Portsmouth, was seized for having 26 unpaid parking tickets, worth £1,856.

Tickets were also issued to cars in disabled and loading bays without permits.

Parking wardens – also known as civil enforcement officers – detected whether a badge was real or belonged to the vehicle owner by checking records in the civic offices and calling the owner to see where they were.

In cases it was found a relative had borrowed their badge to go shopping.

A badge has 70 security features but the council admits people are finding ways around them to make fake ones.

Parking warden Darin McCloud, 49, said: ‘People just seem to think they can get away with it.’

The city council has also linked up with Hampshire County Council to help with the crackdown on parking fraud.

Cllr Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: ‘Hopefully the work our parking team is doing will get the message across that actions have consequences.’