A SUNDERLAND student has become one of the first drivers to be fined in a crackdown on blue badge cheats.
Andrew Cogdon, 24, of Kentmere Avenue, Seaburn, admitted unlawfully using a disabled person’s badge when he parked his Volkswagen car in Framwellgate Waterside, in Durham, on July 7.
He was not in Peterlee Magistrates’ Court yesterday as Durham County Council led the prosecution against him and Maralyn Maughen, 61, of Ryedale, Belmont, who also pleaded guilty to the same offence, committed on August 5.
Both must now pay fines and court costs, with highways chiefs stating their cases should act as a deterrent to others who use the badges against the rules.
Earlier this year the authority warned motorists could be hit with a fine of up to £1,000 as its enforcement officers took a hard line on breaches.
The bench was told Bournemouth University student Cogdon used his father’s badge and told officers his dad was nearby, when he was actually at home.
Maughen used her mother’s badge and also misled council staff by saying she was picking her up from a dental appointment, when she too was at home.
Cogdon was fined £37 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and court costs of £150, while Maughen was told to pay a fine of £130, a £20 victim surcharge and costs of £464.
Following the case, the council’s Adrian White, head of transport and contract services, said: “We hope that these successful prosecutions serve as a deterrent to others who misuse disabled parking badges. “Accessible and close parking bays are absolutely vital to people with disabilities who rely on them to be able to use local shops and amenities. “We would urge members of the public to get in touch if they’re aware of anyone misusing a blue badge and help us to tackle this issue.”
Enforcement action by the council began in July as they checked that badges are real and being used by the badge holder to help make sure that drivers with genuine disabilities can access the parking spaces they need.
Residents are being urged to report people fraudulently using blue badges by calling a hotline on 08000 321 663, which is free from a landline, or by texting Fraud, followed by the details, to 0778 602 7280.