Bedford Prison Officer prosecuted for Blue Badge abuse
Bedford Borough Council has prosecuted a prison officer from HMP Bedford for misusing his wife's blue badge in November 2020. The perpetrator has been ordered to pay back over £1,000 in fines, council costs and a victim surcharge.
James Cooper of Bevery Close, Bedford was prosecuted for two counts of blue badge misuse after a Civil Enforcement Officer witnessed him parking in Adelaide Square with a blue badge on 12 November 2020, despite his wife not being present.
During the investigation that followed, it was found that Mr Cooper had committed the same offence on the previous day. On both occasions, Mr Cooper had used the badge to park before going to work at HMP Bedford, which resulted in the space being unavailable to someone who needed it for a lengthy period.
When interviewed under caution by post, Mr Cooper admitted to both offences and was then summonsed to attend Luton Magistrates Court on Friday 25 June 2021 where he plead guilty and was fined £534.00. Mr Cooper was also ordered to pay £500.00 towards the Council's costs, alongside a £53 victim surcharge.
Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said "The blue badge scheme was set up to assist disabled people in getting to their destination and many people rely on it. In the interest of disabled residents, we will always take action against those we suspect of misusing a blue badge, which could result in a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal conviction."
If you suspect that someone is committing Blue Badge misuse, you can report it by completing the online form on the Bedford Borough Council website: www.bedford.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/parking/disabled-people-parking-bays/blue-badge-misuse-fraud/.
Blue Badge misuse can also be reported by contacting their Customer Service Centre via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 01234 267422.