The East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub hit the headlines last week as local newspaper the Eastbourne Herald published a report about blue badge investigator Mark Jobling’s role. Mark, a member of the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub team investigates Blue Badge Fraud around the county; ensuring badges are only used by those for whom they are intended.
Blue Badge Fraud is committed when a person uses a Blue Badge which has not been issued to them. It is also an offence for someone issued with a badge to offer it to someone else for whom it was not intended for use. Many people misuse blue badges to avoid parking charges or gain access to parking spaces that are closer to venues.
A Herald reporter recently accompanied Mark on the job checking badges currently in use in Eastbourne. The article highlighted the need for Blue Badge Fraud to be tackled across the county to ensure disabled people in the community are able to access the parking spaces they need.
There are in excess of 27,000 blue badges that have been issued in the East Sussex area. Blue Badge Fraud is not a victimless crime, and could possibly result in a community resolution for minor offences; however offenders can be taken straight to court and given a criminal conviction.
High profile cases that Mark has investigated include that of Father William Haymaker, the Priest who was caught using a deceased woman’s badge in Bexhill. The story made the national news and Mark was able to ensure justice was served as Haymaker was given a 12 month community order, as well as being ordered to undertake unpaid work and pay thousands in costs.
Blue Badge Fraud isn’t the only type of fraud to be tackled by the Counter Fraud Hub, as we also take reports of other types of fraud against local authorities including social housing, council tax reduction and business rate fraud, among others. For a full list of the types of fraud you can report to us at the Hub, please click here.
To report misuse of a blue badge, please visit focusonfraud.co.uk or call the following number: 0800 731 7039
Image: Eastbourne Herald