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?

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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

4 comments

  • Excellent result , my late father was the holder of a badge and could only walk 100 yards so it was infuriating when all disabled spaces were full and NO blue badge visible, even reporting the details resulted in no action taken. ( I feel it was too much trouble) Well done Kirklees.

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  • We live in a metropolitan district where drugs and guns trafficking and prostitution is rife, often openly, where mobile phone are still blatantly used in moving motor vehicles and where red traffic lights jumping and the disregard of speed limits is a common and increasing practice.

    Furthermore, for those of us who still walk to places (yes, there are still a few of us about!) we have to contend with pedestrian foot-ways which are commonly obstructed by persistently offending motorists who perversely consider the parking ‘welfare’ of their glorious tin boxes on four wheels exceeds that of people who may have mobility issues, or mums with pushchairs, but have to run the gauntlet of stepping into dangerous traffic streams to get around the obstructions. Yet, in these times of asserted austerity we have the time, the resources and the perverse intellect to look upon the illegal use of a blue badge as being almost a capital offence. Yes, it is an anti-social and abhorrent act to take advantage of a parking concession devised specifically to help those who have disabilities, but, the way this case has been handled by both the Council and the Court is totally disproportionate to the seriousness of the act. We daily learn of those who have committed what are truly appalling and vicious acts against the person and property, yet our judiciary persistently and perversely sees fit to hand down sentencing which is proportionately far more lenient than that which has been the disproportionate retribution in this instance. This, I fear, has been driven more by spite than by proportionality.

    As for the notion of even considering this could have been a matter which should be referred to a higher court, just what do these people have in their minds? Is it that they truly have a wish to make an example of the offender by handing down a proportionate sentence? Or is it more to do with their perceptions of their own self-importance? Our Council, in stead of patting its own back in self-congratulation of that heralded here as being a great achievement for justice, would be better serving the residents of Kirklees with its application towards issue of significant gravity and genuine importance.

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  • I saw a middle aged lady leap out of her car like a salmon after parking in a disabled parking bay with a blue badge, outside the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and ran into the entrance, I didn’t have the chance to ask her if it was her badge, but felt it wasn’t. I see this happen on a regular basis and not too sure what to really do about it. I’ve looked on Google, but got nowhere.

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  • seriously?!?!? you are judging the fact that someone has jumped out of their car and have come to the conclusion that they are not disabled!?!? Not all disabilities are visual my dear! think of the bigger picture!

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