|Roehampton Woman Narrowly Escapes Jail Sentence|
Having lied over 'blue badge' abuse
A middle-aged woman from Roehampton has narrowly avoided a jail sentence after concocting a tissue of lies to try and cover up her fraudulent use of a disabled person’s parking permit.
Cheryl Daley of Egbury House in Tangley Grove was caught red-handed in a joint operation by town hall fraud investigators and police officers from the Met’s safer transport command using a forged copy of a blue badge while shopping in Tooting.
The investigators spotted her parking her blue VW in a disabled parking bay and then walking without any difficulty to nearby shops.
When she was interviewed under caution the 45-year-old housing association employee claimed that she’d found the permit lying on a pavement in Southfields earlier that day and had intended to hand it in at the first opportunity.
She insisted that her decision to use it on the shopping trip was due to “a moment of madness”. But her story fell apart when the investigators began looking into her claims. They established that the badge she was using was a fraudulent copy of one previously issued to her next-door-neighbour which was reported stolen in 2006. Its original expiry date was July 2008 but the one Miss Daley was using had been altered to July 2010. Further evidence was uncovered that proved she had been using either the original or a copy of that stolen badge in her car back in 2008. On that occasion it was showing the genuine expiry date.
When she appeared before magistrates Miss Daley pleaded guilty to one offence of fraud by false representation and a second offence of possessing an item for use in connection with fraud. She told the court that she had never had the original stolen badge but had found a copy of it outside her flat in 2008. She admitted using the copy since 2008 and later altering it so she could carry on using it after its expiry date.
She was sentenced to 80 hours unpaid community service as a direct alternative to custody and ordered to pay £100 towards the council’s prosecution costs.
The council’s transport spokesman Ravi Govindia said the case highlighted the “rampant levels of abuse” that surround the blue badge system. He said:
Abuse of the system is rife because blue badge holders are able to park virtually anywhere they like. They can park for as long as they need free of charge in pay and display bays and also in resident and business permit spaces. They can also park for up to three hours on yellow lines as long as there are no other restrictions in force. The badges can however only be used when the holder is either driving the vehicle or being ferried as a passenger.
March 11, 2011