Kirklees prosecute man for Blue Badge Fraud offence
We’ve successfully prosecuted a local man for the unlawful use of his wife’s disabled blue badge.
On the 2nd February 2017 at Huddersfield Magistrates Court, Mr Roland Ferenci, aged 69, from Liveredge pleaded guilty to having possession of a disabled blue badge used fraudulently between 12 October 2015 and July 2016.
How did the case come to our attention?
This came about after Mr Ferenci was witnessed using his wife’s badge on numerous occasions when she was not with him, which is a criminal offence.
Mr Ferenci was brought in for an interview under caution, where he was given full advice on the use of his badge – however, he continued to misuse it.
Mrs Ferenci had previously applied for a badge and then claimed they had not received it, as such the badge had been cancelled and a new one sent to replace it. Mr Ferenci decided he would use the old one (which he did in fact receive) – and he was subsequently caught and charged with fraud.
What was he charged?
Mr Ferenci was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months. There was also a rehabilitation requirement of 15 days activity set by the Magistrates. He also had to pay costs of £500 and a £115 victim surcharge.
Mr Ferenci was told he must keep to all appointments and comply with the court order. If he breaches any requirement of the order then he could expect to serve a custodial sentence for 26 weeks.
How did the court react?
The Bench of 3 Magistrates stated that they had thought long and hard as to whether the case should be referred up to Crown Court such was the seriousness of the offence where the sentence would have been more severe.
The Magistrate’s stated that they had given Mr Ferenci credit for pleading guilty, and that credit was in the not sending the matter up to the Crown Court for sentence, they were also mindful of his age and personal circumstances.
What is the blue badge scheme?
The blue badge scheme is a national drive to help disabled people to park close to their destination, either as a passenger or driver.
While the badge is for on-street parking only, some off-street parks – such as those provided by councils, hospitals or supermarkets, also offer benefits to Blue Badge Holders.
It is a criminal offence to misuse the badge, and doing so can lead to a £1,000 fine.
What do our Councillors think?
Cllr Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Resources said: “I am pleased with the outcome of this case, Mr Ferenci committed a very serious offence which costs Local Authorities all over England thousands of pounds. It is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be imposed.
Kirklees is one of of only a handful of Councils prosecuting under the Fraud Act for blue badge offences. This successful prosecution shows that we are committed to preserving the integrity of the Disabled Blue Badge Scheme and will take appropriate action against people who abuse and misuse the scheme.
Those who misuse blue badges must be prosecuted to stop the system becoming discredited, which would have an adverse impact on those users who genuinely need help by having a blue badge”.
Find out more about our blue badges:
To find out how blue badges can be used, visit our Blue Badge Parking page.