'Not a victimless crime' - blue badge misuse across county revealed

 A parking enforcement officer making sure Norfolk's Blue Badge holders are on the right side of the

A parking enforcement officer making sure Norfolk's Blue Badge holders are on the right side of the law. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Great Yarmouth had more than double the amount of blue badge parking permit offences than any other Norfolk district, figures show.

Blue badge parking permits - which allow drivers with disabilities and health conditions to park in spaces often closer to shops and businesses - have been misused by 48 times in the borough since 2019.

As a result of these 48 offences, 30 formal warnings and four prosecutions have been given.

In the past two years, Norfolk County Council has reported 133 blue badge offences county-wide.

From 2019 the figures based on local authorities show Breckland reported 21 offences, Broadland reported three, Great Yarmouth had 48 offences, North Norfolk and Norwich reported 20 offences each, South Norfolk saw 11 offences and West Norfolk had 10 reports.

This paper obtained these figures after two staff members from a Great Yarmouth jewellery shop had to pay £2,000 in fines and court costs on Tuesday for misusing a blue badge, after one man had lent his permit to the other.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Martin Wilby, the county council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, and chair of the Norfolk Parking Partnership, said: “Thankfully, it’s just a small number of people who choose to misuse a blue badge.

"But sadly this is not a victimless crime.

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"We hope that prosecutions such as this send a clear message that misusing a blue badge is wrong, as it leads to lifeline parking spaces not being available for those who need them most.”

At the court case on Tuesday, the court heard nationally blue badge fraud cost £853m with more than 400,000 cases of misuse a year.

The misuse of such permits denies legitimate blue badge users the parking concessions they are entitled to.

And this may prevent them accessing healthcare services or from visiting relatives.

A spokesperson from Norfolk County Council said "misuse of blue badges occurs throughout Norfolk and is not confined to Great Yarmouth".

There is a guidance booklet provided to blue badge holders when it is issued to them, the rules around blue badge use are also printed on the badge.

The council has enforcement officers who can investigate blue badge misuse.

For information on blue badges, and to report blue badge misuse, visit: www.norfolk.gov.uk/bluebadge

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