Two local residents appeared at court on the same day, accused of using a blue badge which wasn’t theirs.
On Tuesday 3 May 2023 at Basildon Magistrates Court, Ismail Ali of St Vincents Road, Westcliff and Tijjarni Martin of Salisbury Road, Westcliff were charged with unlawfully using a blue badge.
Mr Ali was abusive to police community support officers (PCSOs) on 24 September 2022 when he was seen using a blue badge while parked on double yellow lines in St Johns Road, Westcliff.
Southend-on-Sea City Council’s counter fraud and investigation team found Mr Ali, who in interview said the blue badge was his ex-partner’s, who was in hospital. He said he forgot the badge was on the dashboard when he hurriedly drove to St Johns Road to pick up medication for his ex-partner. This was despite video evidence showing him returning to the vehicle carrying cans of drink.
Mr Ali failed to attend his hearing but was found guilty and fined £440 and ordered to pay £3,540 costs and £176 victim surcharge. The magistrate said the way Mr Ali had spoken to the PCSOs was a factor in the size of the order.
Council counter fraud officers approached Mr Martin of Salisbury Avenue, Westcliff, who was parked with a blue badge on double yellow lines in the Deeping, Southend (underneath The Victoria Centre) on 28 October 2022. Mr Martin was not the named badge holder and refused to provide his name to the officers.
The blue badge had been issued by Ealing Council and was reported lost. Mr Martin’s vehicle was also registered under false details.
The council’s counter fraud and investigations team worked closely with Essex Police on the investigation to identify Mr Martin, who declined to attend an interview with fraud officers.
Mr Martin entered a guilty plea by email to Basildon Magistrates and was fined £120 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and £48 victim surcharge.
Cllr Steven Wakefield, cabinet member for highways, transport and parking said: “We wholly support the use of blue badges, but this sort of activity undermines a scheme aimed at assisting those that need it. We also have a duty to protect and act against those who fraudulently misuse these badges.”
If anyone has suspicions concerning similar blue badge misuse, or other types of fraud against the council then please call the counter-fraud and investigation team on 01702 215254 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.