Stolen blue badge recovered after council crackdown

A woman has been ordered to pay £347 in fines and costs after Watford Borough Council and Herts Police caught her using a stolen blue badge to park illegally.

Published: Tuesday, 30th January 2018

Victoria Sewaa Bonsuu, 36, of Cezanne Road Watford, was stopped by the officers after leaving her car on a double yellow line in Church Street, near the town centre. They were taking part in Operation Clamp on Saturday 23 September – where officers inspect and question motorists who use disabled blue badges for parking.

Blue badge holders are legally entitled to park closer to their destination on single and double yellow lines and in certain pay and display bays without charge. However, when Bonsuu was questioned by council fraud investigators and the police, it was discovered the blue badge she was using did not belong to her. When asked where the owner was, she told them it was her friend’s and that she had dropped her friend off on the other side of the town.

Councillor Karen Collett, cabinet member for community, said: “We are working hard to make our town centre a better place for everyone. We want it to be enjoyed by all of our residents and visitors. That’s why we are investing in making it more pedestrian-friendly. When blue badges are misused, people with disabilities are deprived of a place to park their car. This can prevent them from enjoying our town centre in a way that many of us take for granted. Please show some consideration: If you have access to a blue badge, don’t use it unless the badge-holder is with you.”

She was cautioned and told that she would be interviewed formally as a result. Fraud investigators contacted the London Borough of Hillingdon, which issued the badge, and discovered that it had been reported stolen on 9 May 2016 and subsequently cancelled.

Bonsuu was interviewed under caution on Monday 9 October. She admitted to using the blue badge without the blue badge holder being present. She stated that she did not steal the blue badge, but found it on the roadside. She was also very sorry and apologetic for using the badge.

She was summoned to appear at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday 10 January. She did not attend, as she had already pleaded guilty by post to an offence under Section 117(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. She was fined £177 and ordered to pay costs of £170.

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