03:45PM, Monday 16 November 2020
A Slough man who used his partner's disabled blue badge to park in a bay illegally and pop into the pub for a drink has been fined by magistrates.
Richard Harcup of Rochford Gardens, Wexham Lea, was spotted by council officers misusing the badge on December 5 last year.
The 56-year-old used his partner's blue badge while she was playing bingo. As he was waiting for a phone call to pick her up he parked up in a disabled bay in the High Street and went to the pub.
Officers form the corporate fraud team alongside civil enforcement officers were checking people were legitimately using blue badges in the audit.
Those flouting the rules were issued with a penalty charge notice and had the blue badge seized before being requested to attend an interview under caution. Those who did attend were given a caution by way of sanction.
Harcup did initially attend the formal interview process but did not attend to receive a caution and the decision was taken to prosecute under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The case was heard at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday 6 November.
Justices of the Peace sitting at Reading Magistrates’ Court convicted Harcup in his absence of wrongfully using a disabled person’s badge in order to park in disability parking bay when the badge holder was not present.
He was fined £220 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £32.
The blue badge was originally seized and has now been returned to his partner due to it's genuine need.
During the operation on December 5 last year a total of 43 badges were checked with 38 being used correctly, one badge was found to be expired and four were being misused and confiscated.
Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “People who have been issued a blue badge are in need of the disabled parking bays to be nearer shops.
“They are not for people who want to conveniently park while waiting for their partner.
“If the blue badge holder is not the driver they have to be with the driver for the use of the blue badge to be legal.
“They are not a free pass to park anywhere at any time for those helping the owner of the blue badge.
“The teams intend to conduct further blue badge audits in the future to ensure the benefits of holding a disability blue badge are not being abused by people who don’t qualify.”
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